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Salt Shaker

NEW YORK — Of all the downtown restaurants that caved after Sept. 11, Stella — a cozy little jewel of a place on MacDougal Street just below Houston — was one of the best. The food of Melissa O’Donnell, a former executive chef...

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Perhaps the best news is that even with its white walls and long, white communal tables, Salt hasn’t sacrificed any of the low-lit, twinkling comfort of its previous incarnation. "The idea behind the white is that the thing that should stick out — bring color to the room — is the food and the wine," says O’Donnell.

Nightly wine specials are scrawled in marker on a giant, French-bistro-style mirror. It’s also on that mirror that O’Donnell — whose head of curly hair is always visible through a window into the kitchen — communicates with her new customers.

"By request," she writes, "the dates and bacon are back."

"It’s tomato season — eat tomatoes."
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