Am I predisposed to write positively about SALT, the soon-to-open restaurant located inside of Shreveport Aquarium, after getting a sneak peek during a recent trial run? Well, honestly, I was predisposed to root for this place before I ever stepped foot inside. Look at what the opening of SALT will do for us, the food-loving public:

A photo of a sandwich
A bánh mì sandwich from SALT at the Shreveport Aquarium.

Maybe first and foremost, it gives us honest-to-goodness riverfront dining, with a killer view from one of the best patios anywhere in Shreveport-Bossier. If the restaurant opens in mid-October 2017, that patio will be coming online just in time for fall nights cool enough for al fresco dining. The opening of SALT will also mean that cocktail people can once again enjoy drinks prepared by Kelli Sizemore, who won pretty much all of the cocktail shake-offs and established a fan base during her time behind the bar at Abby Singer’s Bistro. There is also the food, at least as it has been described to me by various folks involved with the restaurant: sustainably sourced fish, meats and produce from local farms, chefs who respect the ingredients. Sign me up.

During a recent trial run of the kitchen, I ordered a salad made with local greens from Doodley Dee’s Farm and goat cheese from Haute Goat. I also ordered the ramen, which was exciting to see on a local menu. You never know exactly what to expect during something like a trial run or a soft opening (did the produce order get put in? Is this menu the same that the public will get to experience when the restaurant really opens? Did the staff know the trial run was going to happen?), but still, I had a positive experience at SALT.

A photo of a bowl of ramen
A bowl of ramen served during a trial run of SALT at Shreveport Aquarium.

The menu that I saw was full of surprises. I hadn’t expected Vietnamese-inspired bánh mì sandwiches or Japanese-inspired ramen bowls. There are lots of vegetarian options, including emerald tabbouleh and something that I wish I’d ordered called deconstructed potato salad. There’s a fried rice bowl made with Mahaffey Farms bacon that sounds killer, and three or four drink menus including teas, craft cocktails and what looks to be a thoughtful selection of wine.

SALT was a work-in-progress during the trial run that I experienced, but enough of a success to make me feel really, really excited about the prospects of a place with so many great assets to its credit. There are talented people and great ideas simmering here, and the place itself is beautiful. To give some sort of fiendish social media “hot take” picking apart the shortcomings of a place that hasn’t opened yet would make me, well, a jerk.

I say, when this place opens, you’re going to want to try it. Especially if you enjoy a good cocktail, a view of the Red River and patio dining on a cool autumn night.

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