Ships Biscuit

Biscuits

There’s a maritime theme at work at Williamsburg’s new little white-and-blue sandwich shop, Saltie, and we like to think of our latest obsession—their $1 buckwheat olive bar—as hardtack gone gastro.

It’s deceptively plain—a thin blue-gray square, studded here and there with a chunk of Kalamata—but offers oceans more taste than that stale seagoing sustenance it calls to mind.

This napkin- staining buttery crumble of a shortbread, made nattily earthy thanks to the buckwheat, geniusly incorporates olives’ salty spike, tempered with some of the fat brown sugar crystals embedded aloft.

Like the rest of Saltie’s delectables—a lovely lineup of sandwiches, plus sweets like rosemary pound cake and olive-oil-and-salt-kissed chocolate mousse—the salty-sweet squares are the handiwork of three DinerMarlow & Sons alumnae: Rebecca Collerton, head chef Caroline Fidanza and Elizabeth Schula. The counter’s tiny menu sets sail to delicious destinations as far as Bologna (mortadella, Pecorino and green olives on wedge of italianate bread) or as near as the bodega (as in their homemade riff on chocolate shortbread ice cream sandwiches).

Those last two didn’t get seafaring-style names, but their masthead did: The Captain’s Daughter is a thick wedge of focaccia stuffed with sardines, pickled eggs and a tangle of dressed greens, served on a prettily painted fish plate. There’s also the Scuttlebutt (hard-boiled eggs, feta, capers, black olives); the Spanish Armada (potato tortilla, pimenton aioli); and, of course, the Ship’s Biscuit (scrambled egg, ricotta).

We’d have probably saved that moniker for the savory sweet slabs of buckwheat and olive—and we’d cover many a nautical mile to get our hands on either one.

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Rachel Wharton is the former deputy editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan. She won a 2010 James Beard food journalism award, holds a master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University, and has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and reporter. A North Carolina native and a former features food reporter for the New York Daily News, she edited the Edible Brooklyn cookbook and was the co-author of both Handheld Pies and DiPalo's Guide to the Essential Foods of Italy. Her work also appears in publications such as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Saveur.