I knew these were going to be good. It was a no doubter. The only questions that remained were how awkward I was going to feel sitting at a bar my myself. Not that it’s awkward to be by yourself at a bar, just that it’s awkward for me to be by myself anywhere. It’s like “what do I do with my hands” but it’s my whole body.
The folks at Salt & Iron made me feel welcome, even though I wasn’t buying alcohol. I had hoped that they’d have a non-alcoholic feature on their beverage menu. The bartender offered to make me something (anything), but I didn’t want to impose (and also wasn’t feeling creative myself). French Fries were my purpose for the visit so I placed the order and watched women’s soccer on the Olympics.
SNI Fries (Salt “N” Iron?) are a combination of shoestring fries, jalapeno corn & sausage gravy, and Beecher’s flagship cheese with a sprinkle of fresh herbs. While it sounds like poutine, it’s closer to the NY/NJ Disco Fries (fries, gravy, cheese). Sausage gravy was something that I hadn’t seen with fries in a long time except for a breakfast poutine on a vacation. What I thought of first was actually a country fried steak skillet scramble with hashbrowns. White gravy with sausage is pure fire, and adding jalapeno and corn to it was bold, but inspired. The Beecher’s cheese was crumbled to a perfect texture to stick with the gravy but still offer a bit of resistance on your teeth. I might be wrong, but I believe it’s a variant of aged white cheddar. Regardless of the exact classification, it’s a Seattle staple and one of my favorites.
Shoestring fries are not my favorite, but without all the goop on top of them these ones would have been tasty. The ones that didn’t get coated in gravy were crispy and well seasoned (salt and pepper?). The ones that did get coated in gravy turned into a glob of starch pretty quickly. They were no match for the country gravy! Even so, I wouldn’t say that that’s a deal breaker. The star of the show was the gravy, and the fries were the right size vehicle to transport that salty goodness to your mouth on reasonable forkfuls. My brand new brass fry calipers indicated that the shoestrings were about 5.8mm thick. I’m sure that will be relevant to somebody someday.
Obviously the fries were a winner. I’d get them again, but it’d be tough to share without a fork. They’re also not a light appetizer. Since Salt & Iron is a bit of a fancier place and had a large sign advertising their oysters I decided to take the opportunity to try them for the second time in my life. I’m still on the fence about oysters, but eating them without the added drama of peer pressure from seasoned oyster eaters really spoke to me. I asked the bartender to talk me into buying some, and considering they were $1.50 each on the happy hour menu it was a pretty easy sell. He rattled off some Japanese names and asked what I was interesting in trying…I told him I had no idea and ended up getting one of each. A couple of funny things about this. First, once I finished the oysters he asked which one was my favorite. I couldn’t really tell that much of a difference, and I asked him which one he liked the most. He said he doesn’t actually like oysters. I had to admit that I didn’t either. So, the guy who doesn’t really like oysters asked a guy who doesn’t like oysters to sell him oysters, and then they tried to talk about which oysters they liked. I thought they were fine, but am still not a super fan. The second funny thing is that I thought the “Pacific” oysters on the happy hour menu was a generic description for all the oysters because they had Japanese names (mostly). Turns out, Pacific is the name of one of the oysters that I tried and was the only one that was $1.50. The other three were about $4. Oops.
In summary, get the fries. Salt & Iron is part of the local restaurant group in Edmonds that I love (see my review of the Polenta Fries at Fire & the Feast). I love Edmonds.