Salem welcomes a new restaurant to the Hotel Salem on Wednesday, January 24, and in the spring, it’ll have a rooftop sibling upstairs. Counter (209 Essex St.) debuts at 5 p.m. on the ground level of the hotel tonight, emphasizing seasonal New England ingredients and cocktails.
Chef Justin Perdue — formerly of Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain, and both NoMi and Topolobampo in Chicago — now serves as group executive chef for Lark Hotels, which manages the Hotel Salem, in addition to his roles at Pig & Poet in Maine and Picnic Social in Stowe. He drew inspiration for the restaurant’s menu, in part, from the history of the building itself, which was once home to Newmark’s, a department store from the 1950s and 1960s.
Counter’s menu pays homage to counter lunches often served within such department stores during that time period. The rotating menu features salads, light starters, breads, and toasts, plus several entrees ranging from hearty meats to pasta dishes. True to form, the full-service restaurant includes a 20-seat counter, along with table seating for 35.
Highlights of the food menu include a duck confit toast with chestnut bisque, braised short rib, a beef burger, and an anjou pear salad, while drinks range from Fae’s Fire, made with local Deacon Giles gin, to Calm Snow, a rum-based drink with house-made falernum syrup.
This spring, Counter will add outdoor seating for 36. Around the same time, the Hotel Salem will also introduce the city’s first-ever rooftop restaurant and bar, The Roof.
Counter is open Tuesday through Sunday from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m., with bar service until 12 a.m. The restaurant will add lunch and weekend brunch within the next few months.
For a full look at the opening food and drink menus for Counter, see below:
• Counter [Official Site]