Sunday, October 23, 2011

Salt

Since I had completely missed Savor while it was at this location, I could not wait to try Salt, especially after all the wonderful things I had been hearing since it opened. I was lucky enough to get into the free Feast tasting for the month of October and even that was spectacular as a warm up for dinner!

This restaurant definitely made my list of “restaurants that are worth going to for a special occasion” just because of how beautiful it is inside. You can tell it was a former residence and at one time it was a funeral parlor. We were taken upstairs (you gotta check out the swank bathrooms) to a private room that included a stage. I was definitely expecting Catherine Neville or Angela Ortmann (aka STLwinegirl) to perform a magic trick!

No magic was necessary since the tastings and wines were just outstanding and spoke for themselves. Owner and chef Wes Johnson was so wonderful to take the time away from the kitchen to introduce some of the dishes as well as hand them out. He even took the time to talk about the food at a lot of tables as he was going around. Chef Wes didn’t even give me any trouble when Angela pointed out that I was not the biggest fan of piggy.

The first tasting was the best and I would have been fine just having a couple more servings as my dinner. Foie Gras Pate paired with a Von Huhl “Jazz” Riesling. You can’t go wrong with Rieslings from Germany. Chef Wes made the Pate just for our tasting so you can’t order it off the menu but the mussels are recommended in its place. While I love mussels and was planning on ordering it for dinner, I doubt anything could have come close to the Foie Gras. At least I can say I’ve had it now and hopefully no one from PETA will send me a threatening letter.

Next up was a very fruity, yet dry Domaine del la Solitude Rose from the Cotes du Rhone region in France. I point this out because I didn’t realize they even MADE rose from this region, especially since it’s the region I recommend the most when giving gifts to red wine drinkers. My favorite wine is Chateauneuf du Pape…smooth yet bold. Anyway, the rose was paired with another huge favorite of mine: a Chevre from Baetje Farms. Salt has quite a few cheeses on their menu, including this one, but the suggested pairing was the Duck Fat Fried Chicken, since the Duck Fat is what Salt is known for.

The next two pairings were not high on my list due to the piggy factor but I am sure any piggy lover would have enjoyed them. We had a Cider Braised Pork Belly paired with an Oregon Pinot Noir from Boedecker Cellars and then a Pork and Fennel Meatball paired with a Steele Cabernet Franc out of California. Both dishes are on the Salt menu.

When it came time for dinner, my friends were smart and split orders for the Duck Fat Fried Chicken and the Duck Fat fries, which are very thin potato strings. Salt even offers its own homemade ketchup and mayo to go with them! I was all set on ordering the mussels and seared scallops (small plates) or the seared trout (large plate), but then the special of the night won me over. Beer cheddar soup followed by a gnocchi small plate. The soup was so filling that I struggled to finish the gnocchi as well as attempt to help my friends with the duck fat fries. I also got to taste the sorghum lacquered duck, which was fantastic.

It appeared to me that all the main courses were large portions and could easily be shared. I did spy on Angela’s frisee salad and mussels and both of those looked like the perfect size for a full meal as two separate “small plates”.

Definitely a winner.

Resources:

Salt = http://enjoysalt.com

STLwinegirl = http://www.stlwinegirl.com

FEAST magazine = http://www.feaststl.com