378 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, 718-387-4777
Price Range: $6-$15
Rating: L L L L
Every morning at 10am, customers trickle into this tiny sandwich shop and bakery, located on a picturesque stretch of Metropolitan Avenue near Havemeyer Street. What they don't see is Caroline Fidanza, Elizabeth Schula and Rebecca Collerton hustling three hours earlier to complete the morning's prep work, consisting of, among other tasks, baking sheets of focaccia bread and Parker House rolls, chopping organic vegetables and brewing family-farmed Crop to Cup coffee.
They make everything from scratch and locally source almost all their ingredients. If the cooking style and focus on sustainability seems familiar, it's probably because you've experienced it before: all three are alums of Williamsburg foodie faves Marlow & Sons and Diner.
This, however, is a more modest endeavor. Housed in a charming storefront, it's more takeout spot than full-blown restaurant. The tiny space, with its breezy white-and-blue color scheme and exposed brick walls, evokes a cozy seaside cafe. While most people grab their sandwiches or pastries to go, it is neither unusual nor uncomfortable to settle in at one of a few tall barstools at a long counter with a homemade lassi while hastily devouring one the seasonal sandwiches.
One of the most popular is the Captain's Daughter, perhaps a sign that a movement toward sustainable seafood (like the sardines used in the sandwich) is beginning to take hold in New York. Don't worry, eating this sandwich doesn't feel like an act of charity: Saltie's supremely good foccaccia, at once pleasantly crunchy, chewy and oily, bookends a savory combination of sardines, pickled eggs and salsa verde. The flavors here, as in almost everything, are clean and true to the quality ingredients used. The Ship's Biscuit is a joy that seems almost obvious in its simplicity: perfectly fluffy eggs given a slight tang with ricotta, sprinkled with sea salt and served on focaccia.
The baked goods here are far more nuanced than the usual New York City cupcake joint. The lavender cake, little squares with the consistency of shortbread, temper the sugar with the strong, soothing flavor of lavender and just a hint of saltiness. The most decadent thing on the menu might be the ice cream sandwich, which pairs vanilla ice cream with two crispy, wafer-like chocolate cookies. It is a tremendously satisfying treat that encapsulates Saltie's ethos: smart, responsible food that somehow always seems like a guilty pleasure.