Salaam Seafood - Deep Fried Done Right !!!
During a recent Chinatown adventure I popped into a little place called Salaam Seafood. At the time I was filled to the brim on food from Paris Café and just grabbed a menu. Salaam is a family owned restaurant serving Southern Style seafood to hungry Fresnians. The menu speaks of recipes handed down from grandmother to mother and so on and said recipes are supposedly delicious. I had forgotten about the place until I found out while doing laundry at my Mom’s house I had left the menu on the drier. My mom had become obsessed and insisted I take her to this glorious place. They had a second location on Willow and Nees and this is where we ended up going.
I had never been to Willow and Nees and was surprised to see a few locally owed restaurants in the same complex. A sushi joint that looked to have great beer specials, an independent pizza place, and Sallam Seafood. The sign was drab and when we walked in we were asked to wait. The ambiance was a little cold and framed photographs lined the walls. On the TV was a program about prison that was playing through the surround sound speakers. We were finally helped with an enthusiastic and warm smile.
The menu was fairly large with different types of fried or grilled fish, shrimp, and chicken dishes. The sides were mostly traditional southern staples and they claimed to have world famous Navy bean soup. They also had a dessert menu filled with cobblers and southern pies that all sounded delicious. I went with the Captains Platter with 1 side ($9.95). That consisted of six jumbo fried prawns and a side of fried zucchini. I also got the Navy Bean soup ($2.50) for the sake of the review. My mother wanted to go for something different so she went with sautéed sardines over white rice ($4.95), this also came with a side and she went with collard greens. They also had southern sweet tea and we all know you can’t pass that up.
The guys at the counter were really nice and seemed like they took pride in the food but they did leave on the prison show and when eating with your mom you really don’t wanna hear about stabbing, feces, and/or butt rape. Sans that lack of consideration the service was really friendly. The food started with the soup. It prepared in a puree style, not the brothy whole bean soup I was envisioning. It was almost sweet in flavor and I may have detected a smack of ham. It was good (not famous good) but good. Then came the actual meal: a basket of fried deliciousness. I went straight for a fried zucchini. The batter that it was fried in was straight up one of the best I ever had. I will go as far as saying this was the best fried zucchini I ever had, it was fantastic. Then the shrimp, butterflied, battered, and fried. They were great, the batter again was absolutely perfect. The shrimp tasted fresh and meaty without being abrasive or “fishy.” I know it is almost impossible to mess up fried food but from what I tried they were taking it to a new level of delicious. My mom got what ? Sautéed Sardines ? Yup, and they were actually cooked Italian style. There were small chunks of meat from fresh sardines, sautéed with Italian veggies and presented over white rice. I was expecting something disturbingly different. The food was actually really good, it was surprise to say the least. Neither of us had ever tried sardines but I couldn’t imagine them tasting too much better. The collard greens were great. The sweet tea was fabulous and over-all the food was killer.
This place proved to be a great excuse to go back to Chinatown or go over to Willow and Nees.
Dead In 60 Approved !!!!!!!!!