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First Bite: The Salt is The Bomb

Exotic and refined, this Indian-inspired restaurant delivers.


Courtesy of The Salt

Slipping into this most luxurious—and eerily empty—restaurant one weekend evening was otherworldly. The nightclub ambience, with its champagne-quality furnishings and golden globe chandeliers (a bit evocative of disco balls), was wholly unexpected. A touch of Twilight Zone.

It’s real enough, but The Salt is a restaurant like no other, with playful, high-end Indian-inspired cuisine (created by chef Jerrod Doss, a fine-dining gypsy) and classy decor (courtesy of owner Srikanth Yendluri, a tech success).

If its location wasn’t so offbeat, across the way from ClubSport San Ramon, there would likely be a line out the door. However, we were treated like royalty, even if the ample staff radiated a bit of insecurity—as if they had landed in a math class well over their heads.

No matter. The golden lentil soup, with crispy rice puffs, was silken, as luxurious as the restaurant itself. Lamb chops, perfectly accompanied by vivid green, smooth mint chutney, laid beneath a tangle of crispy parsnip threads and bright-red pickled onions. Eggplant puffs, spiked with tamarind and cashews, were simply revelatory, doused in a spellbinding curry sauce. And the blackened shrimp and grits, hot enough to go with a chilled draft lager, were stupefying in how they seamlessly married Southern comfort food to Indian spice.

Only dessert, a much- too-firm panna cotta with an ecosystem of tiny melon cubes, wasn’t worth the calories. A gorgeous finish to be sure, but it was more art than food.

Bottom line: Check out The Salt before it becomes a sensation, or before slips away, back into some alternate dimension from whence it came.


500 Bollinger Canyon Way, Ste. 1A, San Ramon, (925) 905-9009, thesaltsanramon.com. Dinner Tuesday-Saturday.