Salt Restaurant-Cocoa Beach, FL- 2 Stars
There, just up ahead, half buried in the sand. Do you see it? It looks like an old bottle, maybe thousands of years old. I wonder, if I rub it, will a djinni pop out? I am, after all, in Cocoa Beach. The same beach Capt. Tony Nelson, USAF Astronaut, was walking on when he found his Jeannie in the bottle. If I do rub this bottle and she materializes, maybe I can order her to help with the food in the Hilton restaurants, after eating in both, magic appears to be their only salvation. I should have known better after my horrid experience at Longboard's, but after growing up a bit south of here and watching, "I Dream of Jeannie," I couldn't give up.
I had to go back and try the other restaurant located in the Cocoa Beach Hilton, Salt. They are run by the same restaurant group, though I was hoping that, Salt, presented as their "upscale" joint, would be better than their casual dining hell, aka Longboard's Tiki Beach Grill. As my server, Amy, approached to take my order, I recalled my said experience at Longboard's and thought I should start with something strong, yet simple to concoct from the bar, so I ordered a Bullitt Rye Manhatten. I am guessing on how my drink was mixed that they shared the bartender with Longboard's. Even if it was a bit heavy on the vermouth, at least this time I could tell what I was drinking (maybe someone slipped them a copy of the cocktail jockey's bible, "Mr. Boston Official Bartenders Guide").
Now that my head was taken care of and my soul soothed, I turned my attention to my palate. After perusing the menu at length, I decided on the New York Strip Steak with a Morel mushroom reduced demi-glace glaze. I felt sorry for my server, Amy. She was on point and obviously dedicated to the task at hand, but not even her excellent service could save this meal. The steak came with a side of mixed summer squash and zucchini along with an order of fingerling potatoes. The Steak was undoubtedly a low-grade choice cut, not prime as it had the consistency of soft leather and while the demi-glace glaze was serviceable, it wasn't extraordinary, or even ordinary and it tasted as no steak should ever taste...bland.
The Patty Pan squash duo was executed so improperly that I am still not sure what dish the chef was trying to fabricate. Somehow, he had sauteed all the flavor out of one of my favorite summer side dishes. This brings us to the final item on my plate, the order of fingerling potatoes. Obviously microwaved and grossly undercooked, they had to be the most wretched potatoes I have ever had the displeasure of trying. I would say "eating," but they were so raw it was almost impossible to do so without running the risk of chipping a tooth. To top off this wonderful gastronomical experience of mine, the hostess sat a family with three extremely tired, cranky, loudly whining children behind me. If Jeannie was around, I sure could have used her to turn those kids into potted palms, or something as serenely peaceful. Then I would order her to the kitchen as they are in sore need of some arm crossing, head nodding, eye blinking magic (or maybe just a completely new staff)! Big Boy says, "Unless you have a djinni in your pocket, come for the view after dining elsewhere."