The Salt House is relatively new on the restaurant scene in New Hope, Pennsylvania. However, the stone structure is not. The historic building has graced Main Street since 1751. It started as a salt house, where a big winch that still adorns the ceiling upstairs, was used to pull blocks of salt through the double windows.
Next, it operated as a ticket house for a ferry that crossed the Delaware River, and at one point, it was the town library. Finally, after several incarnations of dining and drinking establishments, The Salt House has occupied its unique location for the past two years.
Owner and Executive Chef Steve Lau reimagined the space as a funky gastropub. Lunch, dinner and late-night snacks are available in the tavern, upstairs in the “Library Lounge” decked out with curated art, or alfresco on the brick patio in front of the restaurant.
Location: The Salt House is located at 7 East Ferry Street, New Hope, Pennsylvania
Menu: Many of the dishes are small, shareable plates. Wellfleet oysters, charcuterie, moules, frites, and duck meatballs round out the starters. Entrees include sea scallops in a saffron polenta, pumpkin ravioli in a brown butter sauce, or a tasty hamburger topped with gruyere cheese, and caramelized onions, served with a side of crisp fries. Desserts are simple; you have a choice of bread pudding or a decadent, flourless, chocolate cake.
Thoughts: The Salt House is an absolute treasure. There are many delectable choices on the seasonal menu that will make diners pause. Steve Lau has traveled the globe and brings those influences to his eclectic menu.
There are fresh seafood and shellfish options (raw oysters, mussels with Belgian fries, scallops, grilled salmon, and a crab cake sandwich). The grilled octopus, served in an earthenware plate surrounded by tiny potatoes, celery and thyme made our mouths water. Therefore, we had to order this appetizer because it looked incredible. We adored the small slices of tender octopus in a light olive oil and citrus drizzle that allowed the delicate flavors to come through. Tiny potatoes were roasted perfectly and made a perfect bite.
It was a hot evening, therefore we opted to share a burrata and heirloom tomato salad with basil, olive oil, and a balsamic dressing that brought me back to Italy. The creamy, melty burrata and the fresh medley of tomatoes with vibrant reds, yellows, and greens just made us swoon. We selected two wonderful appetizers and we were ready for more.
I saw the steak frites Au Poivre on the menu and made my decision. My husband chose the hamburger with gruyere and caramelized onions. We both loved the preparations and portion sizes.
The steak was a perfect size and prepared to my liking. The pepper topping served on the side, allowed me to dip my steak into it, as opposed to the beef swimming in it. It was a nice touch. The Au Poivre was spicy, but because it was up to me to decide how much I wanted on my fork, it was perfect. The fries were crisp and addictive. The potatoes, fried in peanut oil, would not be a great option if you have an allergy. If you are allergic, you should opt for another side. I loved the garlic aioli that was served as an accompaniment.
My husband’s burger was juicy and cooked to perfection. The chef sous vides the burgers so that they can be prepared to any desired temperature while remaining moist and flavorful. It was one of the best burgers I have ever eaten.
Dessert was very much on our mind as we saw slices of a dark chocolate tart pass our table. We ordered one slice and two forks. The tart, iced with a creamy ganache, was moist, dense and rich. We loved everything.
Prices: Fresh Wellfleet oysters on the half-shell are $28 per dozen. Starters range from $10 – 19. Entrees are $14-23 and snacks range from $7 -13. Desserts are around $8.