Saltine, which opened last August in Jackson, has earned a place on Bon AppÃ©tit magazine’s “Best New Restaurants 2015” list. Compiled by editor Andrew Knowlton, the annual award honors original, innovative and unexpected cooking at the top 50 new restaurants in America. The Fondren seafood restaurant and oyster bar will find out if they made the outlet’s Hot 10 Aug. 18 when the September issue hits newsstands.
Knowlton says, “Raw, wood-fired, fried: You can have your oysters pretty much any way imaginable at this seafood heaven. Chef Jesse Houston’s nautical takeover (complete with a mural of an octopus) of a former elementary school has become a hangout for Fondren District locals, who sit at the long bar, slurping down $1 oysters on the half shell during happy hour and sipping one of the 30 beers on tap. Soon families arrive, and the place starts to feel like the coolest after-school program in town. Textbook po’boys, over-stuffed with roast beef, fried chicken, or fried catfish, could more than hold their own in nearby New Orleans. Want to order like a local? Try Houston’s famous-around-these-parts pork cracklins with house french onion dip and salmon caviar.”
According to Bon AppÃ©tit, Knowlton searches the country high and low to discover those new restaurants that separate themselves from the pack. While quality of the food is paramount, he also considers every aspect of the eatery, from its commitment to service, to its lighting and design.
Saltine is the only restaurant in Mississippi included in Bon AppÃ©tit’s list this year. Other Southern nominees include Shaya in New Orleans, Louisiana; Biscuit Love in Nashville, Tennessee; The Grey in Savannah, Georgia; and Gardner in Austin, Texas. For the full “Best New Restaurants 2015” list, visit bonappetit.com/top50.
Images: Mark Nardeccia