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Omaha Magazine

Dining Review: On The Salted Edge

Dec 21, 2023 10:59AM ● By Samantha & Damian Ingersoll
on the salted edge dining review january february 2024

Photo by Bill Sitzmann.

Faroe Island Salmon.

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Just outside Omaha, situated on the edge of West Shores Lake just west of 243rd and Dodge streets, lies Omaha’s newest restaurant sensation, Salted Edge. The establishment is operated by Ashley and Gregg Young, who also own Sugared Ledge Bakery in Elkhorn. (Many will also recognize the name from the well-known Omaha dealership Gregg Young Chevrolet.) Upon entering on a sunny autumn Saturday, the space featured bustling servers and hostesses, who were happily preparing to take early reservations to their tables. A cooler stocked with bourbon-aged ribeye stood waiting for arriving guests. This proved an excellent gustatory harbinger of what Chef Joel Hassanali had in store for us.

The atmosphere is simultaneously upbeat and peaceful, with a color scheme of dark earthy colors that combine for a relaxed atmosphere, one more akin to swinging by a close friend’s home for a casual dinner party. We joked that the establishment looked as if dining patrons need to make at least six figures to be able to afford it, but the ambiance, which boasts an open-concept kitchen, immediately put us at ease. Make no mistake—this is an upscale, fine dining restaurant, but one that is intentionally laid-back and low-key. There are no haughty airs among the servers, who delivered an entertaining monologue regarding the restaurant’s origins.

Salted Edge owes much of its origins—at least its out-of-the-gates rip-roaring success—to Chef Hassanali, who was born in Trinidad and credits his passion for cooking to watching and helping his parents run a restaurant in the Caribbean. He moved to the US when he was 11, grew up amidst New York’s famed foodie scene, and then studied culinary arts before gaining experience working under celebrity chefs like Emeril Lagasse.

Omaha is fortunate to have him. Remember we mentioned that dining at Salted Edge is like joining friends around a dinner table? Much of that can be attributed to the chef’s warm smile and welcoming demeanor.

But what about his talent in the kitchen? Hassanali’s menu proved simultaneously creative and innovative. It included the earthy flavors he’s picked up on world travels during his close to 30 years in the industry, and his menu has whispers of influences from places like his country of birth, Tennessee, California, and Florida. 

We started with the charcuterie board composed of rotating cured meats, local cheeses, dipping sauces, grilled crostini, and pickled vegetables. We were impressed that everything was locally sourced, as is, it’s worth noting, much of the rest of the menu. 

While the salad choices proved challenging, we settled on the “Honey Roasted Beet Salad” and the “Wasabi Caesar.” The former provided for a punchy interplay among arugula, honey-roasted beets, melon, tangerine, and apricot topped with a goat cheese mousse kissed with crushed pistachios. Each bite seemed somehow reminiscent of walking in a forest. There was an earthy roundness to the flavors that all complemented one another beautifully. The latter was a deconstructed salad with individual Romaine stalks, fresh tomatoes, and a dusting of crushed croutons that resulted in a perfect symphony of flavor, with the pungent Wasabi balancing the umami of the anchovies in the Caesar dressing.  

For our main courses, we sampled the “New Bedford Scallops” and the “Classic Margherita Pizza.” Hassanali paired the scallops with a velvety butternut squash puree, lardon bacon, and Brussels sprouts adorned with pomegranate and citrus herb oil. This delicately crafted combination brought out the natural flavors without being too rich, always a challenge when dealing with decadent scallops. The Margherita pizza was light and delicate with the lactic acid in the mozzarella providing a worthy counterpoint to the aromatic basil. The caramelized crust added the perfect textural finishing touch, one that elevated this dish from humble pizza to something extraordinary. We additionally ordered a to-go order of the “Lobster Mac + Cheese,” which is quickly becoming a cult favorite among Salted Edge devotees. Featuring a smooth five-cheese sauce, Cavatappi pasta, and a bacon-parmesan herb crumble, the dish was rich and creamy. Our only quibble? A dish featuring lobster could have gone a little heavier and harder on the lobster.

Although more than sated, we had to indulge in one more course. The dessert menu proved impossible to resist. We chose an option that was by turns complex yet simple: a rustic donut filled with chocolate ganache served alongside home-made vanilla ice cream. Light and fluffy, it was simply a masterpiece of a dessert. We are usually ones to bypass dessert, but we finished every last crumb of this one.

Overall, our evening provided for a top-tier dining experience. Although Salted Edge isn’t in Omaha’s immediate metro environs, anyone passionate about fine food would be well served to fill their gas tank and make the drive. As most locals already know, Chef Hassanali is about to add a culinary pin on Waterloo’s map. 

Reservations recommended. 

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This article originally appeared in the January/February 2024 issue of Omaha Magazine. To subscribe, 
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