The tiny Salty Dog Bar & Grille is located in the basement level of Quincy Market’s central building. After browsing the crowded food stands featuring every cuisine imaginable in the market’s central building (my first choice for lunch), my friend decided he didn’t feel like dealing with the crowds and shared tables in the market’s central rotunda eating area. So we set out to find a restaurant in the market featuring a variety of lunch specials in a quieter, less busy setting. After reviewing several choices, we settled on Salty Dog.
Descending down the exterior staircase to Salty Dog is somewhat reminiscent of descending into the lower decks of an old ship. The low ceilings were just a mere inch or two above my 6-foot 4-inch frame, and I had to duck to walk under a light fixture. The restaurant’s dining room is separated from its raw bar by the miniscule kitchen, which customers must pass through to access the closet-sized restrooms or the other side of the restaurant. A handful of tables are tightly crammed together in the dimly lit dining room, which is decorated with nautical art.
Our waitress was very cheerful, and despite her dislike of all types of seafood (she did not hide this fact when asked what she recommended on the menu and even laughed at the irony of her working in two seafood restaurants in a row), she was able to point out some of the better choices on the menu. Salty Dog features a basic menu centered around seafood, with some steaks and sandwiches. A wide array of lunch specials is available, most of which are priced below $12 and are of very filling portions. I decided on the lobster sandwich while my friend went for a fried seafood combo platter with clam strips, oysters, and shrimp. Both entrées were served with fresh, crisp french fries and a nice, slightly tart coleslaw made the way I prefer it, with a vinegar-based dressing instead of a mayonnaise-based one. My sandwich featured a generous serving of fresh chilled lobster meat dressed with a flavorful light dressing and crisp lettuce and tomato, all served on a fresh toasted roll. My friend’s entrée was also very good, and he commented that the fried seafood all tasted very fresh.
Salty Dog is certainly not the fanciest seafood restaurant in Quincy Market, nor is it a place I would want to visit when it is very busy. The restaurant is just a little too cramped to handle a crowd of more than 25 customers in the dining room at once. However, for a fast, fresh, and tasty seafood lunch served by a friendly staff, it’s a good choice. I would definitely choose it again on a future visit.
District of Columbia County, District of Columbia
February 28, 2005
From journal Winter Weekend in Boston