Connecticut Yankee Matt Singer knows a thing or two about New England cuisine. He attended the now-defunct Le Cordon Bleu in Cambridge, then cut his teeth in the Boston culinary scene. It’s only appropriate that he should be a guiding force of a restaurant that’s an ode to Northeastern flavors. How does he define what he’s bringing to The Salt Line? “We’re cooking with the seasons,” he says. In the fall, that means root vegetables, and always involves “bringing in influences from Europe and other places around the world.”
The Salt Line opens in Ballston on Tuesday, October 19. It’s the second location of the restaurant, which has built a following in Navy Yard for its upscale take on New England oyster house fare. Singer leads the kitchen in partnership with Long Shot Hospitality chef-partner Kyle Bailey. “We’re carrying over 40-50 percent of our Navy Yard menu–the menu staples and classics,” says Singer.
In fact, the 3,800-square-foot restaurant, which has a patio and outdoor bar, boasts a whole menu section of craveable classics. Diners would be well-advised to order fluffy, freshly baked Parker House rolls to go with their cup of clam chowder. Stuffies pay homage to Massachusetts’s Portuguese settlers with clams stuffed with smoked linguiça sausage. The Waterman’s Platter features fried favorites including fish, oysters, shrimp, and scallops with French fries and coleslaw.
But the other half of the menu is new. “I’ve always worked best with being able to bounce ideas off someone and using somebody as a sounding board,” Singer says of working with Bailey. Of his new dishes, he says he’s most excited about the only pasta currently on the menu. The bucatini pairs scallops with ‘nduja, a spicy Calabrese spreadable sausage. “It’s cool and unique and I think it will be something special,” says Singer.
He also has high hopes for a seared halibut dish that also plumbs some of his experience with Italian food, flavoring the fish with Parmesan broth and charred broccoli pesto. A larger selection of crudos also means that raw fish fans will have four options, with recipes including fish including rockfish and steelhead trout. Try them this week, when the long-awaited restaurant opens for dinner.
4040 Wilson Blvd., Arlington
For more stories like this, subscribe to our Food newsletter.