BROADALBIN — The past year has been an adventure for Seth Corey and Elizabeth Jones, co-owners of SALT American Bistro and Wine Bar in Broadalbin.
The Wine and Roses Restaurant closed on St. Patrick’s Day 2018, and by April 1st, the couple had cleaned, painted, made general repairs and brought in new tables and chairs so that they could open SALT on April 1.
The whirlwind opening was the beginning of a year of ups and downs and learning experiences, all during which the young restaurant owners have built a base of regular customers who frequent the place.
Corey is the chef. He started out at 14 years old as a dishwasher in a little diner. He eventually worked his way up to sous chef, and under the tutelage of chef Robert Andrew, he learned the fundamentals of culinary work.
It wasn’t until he was 17 that he had his first experience with a guest, and that is what hooked him firmly into a culinary career. He and Andrew had prepared baked Alaska for some customers’ wedding anniversary. Andrew had Corey wheel out the cart with the dessert on it.
“The woman started to cry,” Corey remembers. “I panicked. I didn’t have a clue what I was signing up for.”
Quickly he realized that the woman shed tears of joy, remembering a past anniversary. “She hadn’t had baked Alaska since their twentieth, and this was the 45th,” he said.
It was this experience that showed Corey how much food can influence a person’s emotions. “Just having that connection with a guest was awesome,” he said.
That prompted him to attend Johnson & Wales University for a couple of years, at which point he decided he could learn more by working in the industry.
A string of jobs followed in Rhode Island, New York and Vermont at different kinds of restaurants, from bar and grill-type places to high-end establishments with white table linens.
“What I’ve grown to realize is that it doesn’t matter [what kind of restaurant it is]—it’s all about putting out a high-quality product and giving the guest an awesome dining experience,” Corey said.
ERICA MILLER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER
SALT, American Bistro and Wine Bar, located on West Main Street in Broadalbin on Friday, April 12, 2019.
Corey likes to think outside the box when he cooks to provide that great dining experience. For example, instead of just ziti and meatballs, his meatballs might be stuffed with charred scallions and cream cheese. He makes his lasagna with fresh pasta that is plated to order rather than pre-prepared.
The menu is eclectic, with offerings including traditional dishes like chicken pot pie and a turkey dinner with the trimmings to more exotic offerings such as smoked sea salt brined duck. These are alongside ethnic menu choices such as the Caribbean Seafood Trio and Mongolian Rice Bowl.
A signature dish is a char-grilled rib-eye steak served up on a hot Himalayan salt block.
SALT also offers lighter fare including burgers, wraps, sandwiches and salads in addition to appetizers and unique desserts.
Corey wants the dining experience to include teamwork. He likes to get feedback and suggestions from customers. He has ordered in specialty items, such as yak and ostrich steak for one customer who is into very lean cuts of meat. Another customer only wants fillets, so, even though this item is not on the menu, Corey always has a fillet ready for him.
PETER R. BARBER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER
A pasta dish at SALT, American Bistro and Wine Bar in Broadalbin Tuesday, April 16, 2019.
The same goes for shrimp cocktail for another pair of regular diners.
Joining Corey and Jones in this new endeavor are Tyler Foland, who worked with Corey at another restaurant, and Beth Carson, who operates the bar area and works as a server, among myriad other duties.
More from Dine 2019: Montgomery, Fulton and Schoharie Counties
- Craft beer and craft food at Broadalbin’s Project 29 Pub
- Grapevine Farms in Cobleskill offers comfort food, wine — with an unexpected twist
- Glen Falls’ Morgan & Co. offers fine cuisine in a historic Adirondack home
- Authentic Italian at Parillo’s Armory Grill in Amsterdam
- Table At Fort Plain: Fine dining midway between Utica and Albany
“The four of us have been here since day one,” Corey said.
This team does all of the restaurant’s work, including the renovation, social media, and menu design.