April 16, 2007 | Insatiable Critic

Wild Salmon

Wild Salmon Photo Steven Richter

        The embattled Jeffrey Chodorow seems tame at a friend’s tasting at Wild Salmon—his fourth new restaurant since December and his first since a $40,000 full-page J’accuse in the New York Times skewered critics who dismissed his extravagant Kobe Club. “Mario’s father, Armandino Batali, saw the ad and sent me a whole prosciutto,” he confides. I loved Kobe Club, so his media puffers seat me with Jeffrey, wife Linda, and son Zachary. Overhead, 250 copper salmon swim sluggishly. “They’re plastic, so you can’t possibly be killed if one falls on your head,” he assures me, stung by fainthearts who found Kobe’s ceiling of suspended swords daunting. Will critics retaliate by ignoring this homage to the Pacific Northwest where Tuscan, Tuscan Steak, and English Is Italian failed? He has high hopes: “This is just a normal restaurant, not so provocative.” Sure, air-shipping crab, Alaskan sea scallops, and sand dabs means starters average $18 and entrées $28 to the mid-forties. But his chef, Charles Ramseyer, stolidly Swiss, is not likely to deconstruct under pressure. At the tasting, he delivers savory sake-marinated black cod, cedar-planked salmon, and irresistible sides: creamed corn, wild-mushroom ragoût, crispy stuffed Walla Walla onion. There are modest flaws: too much salt here, potatoes undercooked, iceberg salad drowning in sauce. Still, Chodorow expects to open Good Friday. “Is there a better day to open a fish restaurant?” 

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