Fresh Salt at Saybrook Point Inn & Spa in Old Saybrook, Connecticut encompasses every dreamy detail of your perfect restaurant: local, seasonal ingredients; friendly, genuine staff, fantastic food, and some of the most breathtaking views of the Connecticut River. The dining room as well as its outdoor dining space, including a high top table, overlooks the mouth of the Connecticut River where it meets the Long Island Sound, and has a stunning vantage point of the marina. Inside, the coastal interior is very warm and inviting, with cozy corner booths and dim lighting.
There was plenty of activity throughout the restaurant and bar area when we arrived on a Friday evening in late October. Our waitress, the sweetest woman we had ever met, went above and beyond by suggesting a dish from each course from their dinner menu as well as detailing local points of interest in the area. She truly wanted us to have a wonderful experience while tasting a variety of dishes, and we certainly did!
My martini of choice was the Pumpktini: spiced pumpkin liqueur, Svedka vodka, Fultons spiced pumpkin cream, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove rimmed ($12.75). My husband had the Thimble Island American Ale ($6.25), a Connecticut brew. We were pleased to see that local brew and fare was predominant on the menu.
The menu includes classic, upscale American fare with a New England influence. We started with their heartwarming, delightful soups. I chose the Roasted Butternut Squash and Chestnut Bisque: roasted butternut squash, cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, and ginger with toasted pumpkin seeds over crème fraiche, vegetable stock (cup for $7.95/bowl for $9.95). My husband had the Rhode Island Clam Chowder (cup for $7.95/bowl for $10.95). Rhode Island Clam Chowder is made with a clear broth with no tomatoes or cream, but instead celery, potatoes, thyme, clams, and a splash of white wine.
Our appetizer plates were Sriracha-Style Calamari: golden brown, sweet chili glaze, spicy cherry peppers Julienne fresh vegetables, scallions ($14.95); and from The Raw Bar, Sushi Tuna Triangles: tuna tartare, sushi rice, ponzu sauce, pickled ginger, sriracha ($14.95). Fresh Salt also serves a traditional calamari appetizer with marinara sauce ($13.95). The calamari was so tasty, and I just loved the presentation of the tuna triangles. Both were very different and a must try when dining at Fresh Salt.
We split the Autumn Arcadia Lettuce: spiced candied pistachio, crumbled gorgonzola, apple cider vinaigrette ($12.95). I loved the salty crunch of the pistachios, a great pairing with the soft gorgonzola.
My husband had his favorite, Sautéed Shrimp: Orecchiette pasta, broccoli, cherry tomato, Kalamata olives, fresh garlic, extra virgin olive oil, fresh herb-white wine-parmesan sauce ($29.95). My main course was Pan-roasted All-Natural Black Pearl Salmon: saffron polenta cake, fall vegetable confetti, apricot fumet ($28.95). The shrimp pasta, cooked al dente, with strong hints of fresh garlic and prepared with plenty of vegetables and they were generous with the amount of shrimp. My salmon entree was cooked to my exact specification of medium rare served with perfectly diced vegetables. A word we don’t see very often, fumet is a concentrated stock made from fish.
Dessert was very special. We split Pumpkin-Chai Crème Brûlée ($9.95) that was lovingly garnished with a warm snickerdoodle cookie. I wish I could turn back time and enjoy this dessert over and over again. One of the best crème brûlée dishes I have had this year. A perfect marriage of my two favorite autumn spices: pumpkin and chai. I had a cappuccino that was served in an Irish coffee mug.
We had the pleasure of enjoying brunch on Sunday, which consisted of a very generous spread that included a Pasta Station, Create Your Own Omelet Station, Waffle Bar, a carving station, soup, risotto, Eggs Benedict, fresh fruit, salad, shrimp cocktail, and a Smoked Seafood Station. In addition, there was an array of desserts that will ‘knock your socks off!’ In celebration of Halloween, there was apple crumble, festive cake pops (my favorite!), mini cupcakes, pies, flan, gooey chocolate cookies, and more. I was so happy that we made it for brunch that Sunday, I highly recommend it. Brunch is $40 per person, excluding alcohol.
Fresh Salt is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their menu changes seasonally. Brunch is served every Sunday from 10:30 a.m.-2:15 p.m.