GLENN – Pork, pork and more pork – pork in all its manifestations is the organizing principle behind The Salty Pig. The approach here is snout-to-tail; in addition to the primal cuts, pig is showcased in various cured iterations; even trotters and tails make an appearance on the menu. Opened by the team responsible for Coda Bar and Kitchen in the South End and Canary Square in JP, the casual resto straddles the boundary between the Back Bay and the South End, thus making it an ideal destination for a post-work quaff and a bite to eat. A large patio – or “beer garden” as the eatery promotes the space – only adds to the appeal of the location. We’d been anticipating the opening of the Salty Pig and were now here at the temple of pork.
KATRIN – Pork, indeed! It would be enough to make Anthony Bourdain proud. But before we get to the pig, the beverage program needs to be recognized. The wine list is all Old World – France, Italy, Germany, and Spain. We were impressed since it was clearly hand-selected and not options found at other bars. Kudos to the person who thought to put a German Pinot Noir on the list! Ditto for the Greek white! The list of a dozen or so well-chosen craft beers on tap and a number of canned beers would certainly attract beer-lovers. The signature cocktail menu seemed to be tailored to twenty-something ladies, who like sweet drinks that don’t have a big alcoholic punch.
GLENN – The menu’s centerpiece is the build-your-own charcuterie board. There are three steps to this construction. First, make a selection – or two or three – from the “salty pig parts”, i.e. various charcuterie – cured meats, sausages, patés. Then add a selection(s) from the “stinky cheese” offerings. ( This was one impressive cheese list – great representation of European and American small production cheeses and of types of cheeses. And please note, not all are stinky!) Finally, finish the board by “rounding” it out with various pickles, jams and condiments. Each selection is individually priced. My caveat – the board can become pricey with the addition of multiple items. The menu also includes several salads – some even suitable for vegetarians- and an appealing assortment of pizzas baked in a large stone oven. At lunch, there is a “sammich” or sandwich section and in the evening, a “mains” or entree section, which when we visited were all pork-centric. For those with a porcine aversion, though, several of the pizzas feature non-pork and even vegetarian toppings. Two desserts are available but my suggestion would be to order more cheese.
KATRIN – There were many great options for the charcuterie board and I have to admit that I really wanted some of everything. But, as anyone who has been tempted by too many tapas dishes knows, the individual items do add up quite quickly. My weakness, which is somewhat inexplicable, is Mortadella, and my favorite deli variety is straight from Italy and available at Russo’s (unfortunately the brand completely escapes me at the moment). The Salty Pig’s Mortadellina has the best flavor of any I’ve ever had. The pate was delicious as well, though it was missing grainy mustard. The Dijon lacked the heartiness that the pate deserved. Overall, I found the charcuterie, pizza, and pork belly and salad really satisfying and tasty.
GLENN – As for our charcuterie board, Katrin – and the Salty Pig – have made me a convert to Mortadella; the rough and tumble country paté was well seasoned with coriander seed; the cheeses – the Tartentaise and Valdeon – were generous portions, ripe and served at the corect temperature. The crust on the pizza was admirable -thin but pliable, well baked with a bit of chew. The pork belly was tender and flavorful – bread salad somewhat of a farewell to summer. This is food worth leaving the house for.
***What we ate***
Our Charcuterie Board
Mortadellina, House-made Berkshire Pork Pate, Tarentaise, an alpine tomme from Springbrook Farm, Reading VT, Valdeon, the classic Spanish mixed-milk Blue, Pickled Mushrooms
The Salty Pig – Four “salty pig parts”on a tomato sauce smeared pie, topped with arugula and pale ale vinaigrette
Pork Belly atop Panzanella Salad – croutons, tomatoes, fresh corn, arugula, pickled shallots
The Salty Pig 130 Dartmouth St. Boston MA
Open 7 days – 11AM to 1AM