Saltwater Grill & Oyster Bar (1320 S. Carrollton Ave., 324-6640) hosted a strong lunch crowd when I dropped in two weeks ago, roughly four months after it opened. Proprietors and seasoned restaurant professionals Russell Davis, William McIntyre and Floyd Murphy set out to offer Uptown a quality neighborhood restaurant highlighting Louisiana and Gulf seafood. Other than its bed of dry romaine lettuce, my shrimp remoulade with sliced avocado was a winner, the avocado's bland richness cushioning the red remoulade's sharp mustard. At the time of this writing, the Saltwater Grill was open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday; look for Sunday brunch soon.
Grand Opening II
Eighty percent of the proceeds from Sekisui Samurai's (239 Decatur St., 525-9595) grand opening, to run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 7, will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Louisiana. For $60, guests will enjoy cocktails, sakes, wines and Japanese beers, as well as an unlimited buffet. Call 846-WISH for tickets and more information. Sekisui Samurai, partly named for the location's predecessor, Samurai Sushi, is the 14th Sekisui restaurant in the Southeast; it features a sushi bar and a full menu of traditional and contemporary Japanese cooking executed by Chef Sean Yeh.
This week's cookbook pick is The Great Book of Chocolate: The Chocolate Lover's Guide With Recipes (Ten Speed Press, $16.95), authored by David Lebovitz, a former Chez Panisse pastry chef. It's a narrow paperback, compact enough to shove into a backpack before jetting off to Paris (Lebovitz devotes an entire chapter to chocolate in Paris) or into a purse en route to the doctor for your cholesterol results (another chapter details chocolate's health benefits). Or you could always try cooking. The Deep Dark Chocolate Truffles sound awfully good.