June 28, 2015

The Salty Pig, Boston

Nothing frustrates me more than a restaurant with poor food.  It's one of those, "you had one job!"-type things.  If you're a restaurant, and you're serving unappetizing food, you need to get it together, because people will overlook crappy service, bad ambiance, and expensive prices for the sake of a delicious plate of food.  Trust me.  Luckily, unlike a few of the places we frequented on our recent trip to Boston, The Salty Pig, does NOT have to worry about this.  Food seems to be their area of expertise - as well as the ambiance.  This trendy and modern space is what you'd imagine you'd be walking into when coming off the main streets of Boston's hustle-bustle concrete jungle. 

When we arrived, there was ample seating outside, but I'm not really all about eating outside in the elements.  We were brought down some steps into the main seating and open kitchen area.  Immediately, I was drawn to the walls and menus hanging above the bar and kitchen.  Chalkboard-style menus are very in right now, and it's always nice to see someone took the time to carefully write out each item in near-perfect handwriting ;-)



We were greeted by a (rather forgettable) server - who brought water and menus.  Water service is fun, served in plain tumblers with what looks like a plain wine bottle filled with chilled water.  The menu was adorned with charcuterie boards, starters, pizzas, sandwiches, and cocktails - all reasonably-priced for this metropolitan area of Boston.  Charcuterie boards are easily customizable so you can pick different types of meats and cheeses that you like.  I wish it was socially acceptable to order four different things for an hour lunch, because I wanted one of these, but I skipped to the sandwich section of the menu to browse...




There was one word that was sticking out to me the entire time, everywhere I looked: PROSCIUTTO!  If there's one thing in the word I wouldn't mind eating for the rest of my life, it's cured meats - prosciutto, soppressata, salami, pancetta, bacon, etc.  I opted for the Prosciutto Sandwich, complete with arugula, fig jam, and balsamic dressing.  It also came with cheese.  The most creamy, soft, delicate cheese I've eaten on a sandwich.  It is like fontina, but much more mild in flavor.  I'll be searching high and low to get my hands on this cheese in Baltimore.  The elements of this sandwich were all different, and all worked together so cohesively, which made each bite so perfect.  It starts with the creamy cheese, then - salty prosciutto.  The creamy and the salty is then topped with peppery, spicy arugula.  It doesn't stop there, either.  The spicy arugula becomes friends with the sweet fig jam, and each bite just makes you want to close you eyes and take it all in.




I was asked if I preferred kettle chips or a salad, and I opted for the salad.  The salad was a lackluster attempt at a side dish - spring mix greens dressed with a light citrus dressing, but not much else.  No tomatoes, no carrots, no cucumbers - just lettuce.  Dressed nicely, but not special.

Bucky had a chicken salad sandwich, topped with pea tendrils, radish, garlic, and what appeared to be a "green goddess" dressing.  I only had a bite of this, but Bucky is generally picky when it comes to out-of-the-box food, and he said it was very good.  I will take his word for it, the bite I had was tasty!  He got the kettle chips on the side.  They were also lackluster.  They clearly came from a bag, and it looked like the bottom of the bag, at that.  At a place so trendy and hip - you'd like them to be frying their own kettle chips.

The only regret I had with The Salty Pig was that I didn't get to have any pizza.  They prepare the pizza by hand, cooking it in a brick oven for the whole restaurant to see.  The man next to me had ordered a pizza, and I was just hoping he would look at my longing gaze and ask if I wanted a piece. 

He didn't.

The food scene in Boston wasn't something to write home about - many places were overpriced for boring, under-seasoned food.  However, stopping into The Salty Pig before heading to the airport was a saving grace for my critique on Boston cuisine.  This is a place I would frequent quite often if I was a Bostonian.  That'll do, Pig.  That'll do.





 

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