“New England in a bite,” said Kathy Sidell, showing off the fried clam roll that will be on the menu at Saltie Girl’s new location at Fenway’s soon-to-open food hall, Time Out Market Boston, which debuts on June 27. The same can be said for much of Saltie Girl’s Time Out Market Boston menu, a compact collection that includes lobster rolls, fish and chips, and chowder. But there are also dishes with inspirations further afield, a nod to the wide-ranging seafood menu at Saltie Girl’s original Back Bay location.
Sidell’s intimate, popular restaurant opened three years ago, and chef Kyle McClelland (Ten Tables, Clio) has led the kitchen since the beginning. The eclectic no-reservations joint serves everything from fancy imported tinned fish to fried lobster and waffles to snow crab toast. When Time Out Market Boston came knocking (check out the rest of the food hall’s impressive lineup at the two links below), Sidell and McClelland knew they wanted to show off some bestsellers from their original location while keeping in mind that a fast-casual food hall stall requires a bit of a different strategy than a full-service restaurant. Approachability was key, as well as maintaining a delicate balance between affordability and high-quality ingredients.
Read on to see what they came up with for Saltie Girl’s Time Out Market Boston opening menu.
The uni arancini: One of Saltie Girl’s snacks at the market will be “a take on a classic Italian arancini,” said McClelland — but an uni-filled take. The risotto is finished with an uni-infused lobster stock, and there’s some Parmigiano-Reggiano inside the arancini and sprinkled on top. There’s also a “gooey” fontina cheese in the middle, said McClelland.
This is one of a few parts of Saltie Girl’s Time Out Market Boston menu that don’t really have a counterpart at the original Saltie Girl location, at least not yet. But the market will give the team a chance to see what people respond to, and some of those new dishes may eventually make their way back to the Saltie Girl mothership in some form or another.
The octopus empanadas: Another snack is the octopus empanadas, which are already a popular dish (in a somewhat different and larger format) at the original location. At Time Out Market Boston, the empanada duo will be served with a sauce duo: One is a jalapeno cilantro lime sauce, and the other is the same but with kewpie mayonnaise mixed in, cutting some of the heat.
Inside, the octopus mixture includes cotija cheese and cilantro. “It’s simple, it’s fun, it’s fresh,” said McClelland. “It’s actually really light.”
The signature tinned fish platter: One of the hallmarks of Saltie Girl’s original location is its extensive tinned fish selection, so it was a natural move to carry some of that over to the new location. Customers will be able to choose among a variety of tins, such as sardines, pickled mussels, baby eels, and more, and the tins will come with a few accoutrements, including a piquillo pepper jam and bread with butter.
The whitefish katsu sando: It’s a take on a Japanese katsu sandwich, which is normally made with pork, said McClelland. A version has appeared at the original location, made with skate, but the Time Out version will use haddock and a slaw made from celery root, kohlrabi, carrots, green onions, basil, cilantro, and Japanese black vinegar. There’s also a fish sauce aioli (fish sauce, lime juice, and kewpie mayonnaise), and it’s all served on buttery, toasted milk bread. “It’s almost like a pound cake,” said McClelland.
The fried clam roll: “I think [clam rolls] are a New England favorite,” said McClelland. “Whole belly clams are what people come here for; we have the best clam beds in the world, especially in Ipswich, where we get our clams from.” Saltie Girl’s clam roll features a buttered brioche bun and a white truffle tartar sauce.
The lobster rolls: Of course, Time Out Market Boston must have lobster rolls — what kind of Boston showcase would the place be without them? Saltie Girl will readily oblige with two varieties at the market, hot with butter and cold with kewpie mayonnaise (plus lemon and yuzu juice and chopped chives). The lobster for the hot roll is poached in butter, and the roll is finished with a white wine-based butter sauce with champagne vinegar and lemon juice. Both versions are served, like the clam roll, on buttery toasted brioche.
“You know how when you get to the end of the ice cream cone, that last piece is really good?” said Sidell. “This roll — with all the butter and the lobster flavor — that last bite is so good. You live for that.”
Here’s the full menu, which also includes clam chowder (the bowl is a “deluxe” version with fresh clams in the shell, while the cup is a simpler version that would work well as a side) and fish and chips (expect to see something resembling classic fish sticks):
“We want people to have the same experience [at Saltie Girl at Time Out Market Boston] as they would have [at the original Saltie Girl],” said McClelland. “We really want to keep it approachable and let people get a taste of what we do [in Back Bay] over in Fenway.