"Amuse-bouche" is the
Photo by Victoria Bouloubasis
"Hush-Honeys," fried mullet, and good tea at Saltbox Seafood Joint
INDY's new, sporadic series where we give you our hot take on a recent restaurant opening. It’s not a critique or a review, just a taste of what to expect.
Saltbox Seafood Joint
2637 Durham Chapel Hill Boulevard, Durham
We've patiently awaited the opening of Saltbox Seafood Joint's second location since news broke in February. (And since I can walk there from my house, I've been waiting much more impatiently.) A surge of seafood restaurants opened this year, but Ricky Moore was among the first to make coastal fare accessible to a more landlocked audience here in Durham when he opened Saltbox in 2012. The long lines at his no-frills shack on Mangum Street—rain or shine—are proof that we're fans of fresh seafood (and maybe even helped the rest of the new restaurants feel confident in getting on board). Training at the Culinary Institute of America, Ricky Moore roots his food in his eastern North Carolina upbringing, which means a handwritten menu board with a variety of fresh catches almost daily.
Vibe: Located in the former Shrimp Boats building, the venue features shellacked wood paneling adjacent to exposed brick walls. Counter service means a line out the door (always worth it, though). Ten tables accommodate at least thirty patrons, with windowsills that double as stand-up counters.
Menu: The menu is set up the same way as the original joint. The seafood du jour comes either fried or seared (your choice), served on a roll with a side of slaw or as a platter with slaw and fried potatoes. Hush-Honeys (which Moore has trademarked) usually feature as a side, and, if you're lucky, the fried broccoli. No "chowda" yet.
Price range: $12–$17
What to order: Current best bets include the fried mullet or the much juicier bass. Always order extra slaw—it's got an herby, more Mediterranean-style crunch (sans mayo). Throw in the signature "good tea," too.
Perfect for: Taking a long lunch break; impressing your visiting Yankee friends and family with authentic Southern fried fare; an early dinner (it closes at seven p.m.); walking home.