Chef Richard Robertson recently invited me to dine at Pink Salt Restaurant in the Lakewood area of Jacksonville. After a long stint in the hospitality industry, he decided to use his culinary degree, from Johnson and Wales and follow his real passion. He moved here from Atlanta a year ago, bringing his catering business while he searched for a restaurant and Pink Salt was born. A large building filled with fantastic artwork, murals, plus a small reading room that offers a space to come and sit to peruse many of the cookbooks or even borrow them.
A thought Chef explained to me, his food is a combination of many spices, not just limited to one culture, thus a fusion of the flavors from all cultures and for me, it was a marriage made in heaven. We started with a Blue Crab Soup, steam rising from the bowl invited me in to savor the many flavors contained within. The first taste was glorious, smoothe heady turmeric came first and then blended with the other characters. Large pieces of crab meat accompanied with sweet yellow corn pieces made for a savory, creamy dish.
The next dish a Jamaican Curry, unlike Thai or Indian Curry, the secret ingredient here is ginger and onion as well as allspice which they call “pimento” The color and flavors alone make this a stunning full-flavored dish, I only could wish for more.
My third tasting a sous-vied cubed beef over couscous with a rich dark brown gravy. For those not familiar sous-vied is a method of cooking in which food is placed in a plastic pouch or a glass jar and cooked in a water bath for longer than usual cooking times at an accurately regulated temperature. The beauty of this method the food is perfect each time with no guesswork. This dish was an example of that perfectness. Beautiful to look at and equally as tasty. Meat melt in the mouth tender, the couscous lent an interesting crunch combined with the richness of the grave pulling it all together.
For my last tasing a freshly mixed berry swirl over mini cheesecakes was the perfect ending. Sweet and savory all in one.
I will encourage you to stop in a say hello to Cher Richard, he is a most delightful person, who is doing his very best to bring locally sourced, flavorful food to his customers. For this person, he hit it on every level.