Recently we went to Salare, in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood, to celebrate our anniversary! The chef/owner Edouardo Jordan has worked at the French Laundry, the Herbfarm, Per Se, and Bar Sajor before opening his own restaurant here in 2015. He spoke with Lucky Peach about his life and experience of “Being Black in the Kitchen”. Here at Half+Half we want to use our small little platform to support restaurants owned by minorities, and it’s rare to have a black-owned fine dining restaurant–especially in Seattle, a very white city. So when we were planning on where to go out for our big date we knew it had to be Salare.
We tried to sit down and write a proper “restaurant review” but decided to do a verbal recap instead, since we only went once–therefore it wasn’t a full review where we tried the entire menu over a few trips. This is Half+Half’s first recap… be gentle! Unfortunately we recorded more than a week after we went, so it’s not as detailed as I hope our next recap is! Also our pics are from a cell phone so they’re not that fancy. An abridged transcript is below:
Miko: Ok so we’re here talking about Salare and we went there on Friday the 13th. Scary!
Justin: It was delicious though, we had drinks first but we didn’t get a picture. Do you remember yours?
M: No I don’t remember drinks very well, but I remember it was spicy and delicious.
J: Yeah you had tequila. Mine had oatmeal stout, and some herb and an egg. Very subtle. Tasted like an oatmeal cookie. Then I had a nice chianti after that. You had the riesling?
M: No, I had something else. I don’t remember which wine, I’m terrible at remembering which wine I have…
J: *Looks up drink menu online* Oh I had the Oatmeal Flip, with Amaro Montenegro, oatmeal stout, and an egg
M: And I had the Piperita! With tequila, brine, sherry, Calabrian chili, and lemon. I really like spicy cocktails.
M: We did have some really tasty food though, we got one of each course! The menu is laid out with appetizers, vegetables, pastas, and mains. So we got one of each to split between us, family style. We started with the Cracklin’, Smoked Chili Vinegar & Lentils for an appetizer.
J: I liked it! I thought it was really good. That was what we started with. What I really liked was the lentils. They were really tasty. I feel like, ‘cause whenever I cook them it’s just a mess and they’re really hard pebbles, but these were nice and soft with a good texture and really nice sauce, what it was cooked in. The cracklin was awesome! Like a big crunchy potato chip
M:Yes, a crunchy, fatty, pork potato chip. Haha
J: There’s nothing wrong with that. You know the way to a Filipina’s heart is with pork haha.
M: IT’S TRUE! Yeah we saw it on the menu and were immediately like, yes we are ordering this.
M: Then we got the Carrots, that were with panisse, buckwheat groats, sultanas & herb salad. I had to ask the waitress what a lot of those things were. Panisse is apparently a chickpea cake…
J: Yeah, like a polenta cake, but with chickpeas.
M: Yeah, yeah.
J: A little bit of a chewy texture, probably fried. Or double fried on the outside. Yeah it was like delicious french fries.
M: It definitely was like a big fat french fry. And then the carrots underneath were just really really nice. Very very tender. Which, I can never get my carrots to do at home, even just making a carrot super tender is very impressive to me, haha.
J: It was nice though, the carrots were on the sweet side. It had potatoes?
M: No, you’re way off. It had groats.
J: Groats! I’d never had groats before. They were not groat-ey. Grody.
J: HA… that’s all I got.
M: The transcript will be like *miko walks out of room in embarrassment*
J: It was good though, with an herb salad. A very balanced dish.
M: So then after that we got a pasta, which was the Casarecce, with lamb sugo, San Marzano tomatoes & mint gremolata and… I also had to ask what a sugo was. It means basically, like, a sauce. It was like a lamb bolognese sauce but more refined. A casarecce… I did NOT ask what it was because I was too embarrassed, haha. I just looked it up now, well, I mean I ate it too, but it’s a kinda like a hollow, half-tube noodle. Like half a penne, but thicker. A lot more wiggly.
J: It was really tasty. I think, for me, the one thing I can get a little anxious about with red sauce pastas is how heavy and like intense they are. This one was, I mean, it was still substantial but it was with a mint part that kinda it lightened it up a little bit. And there wasn’t that heavy, spicy, greasy feel to it. It was like, ‘oh! I taste tomatoes, I taste the delicious lamb in there.’ It felt like a refined pasta.
M: Yeah it was a thick pasta, but not a heavy greasy pasta. It was really really good. I like lamb so I was like… we have to get this one. I’m picking this one. We’re getting the lamb. Because it’s hard to find lamb out and about in Seattle, so when I see it I usually get it.
J: I wasn’t sure if they make the noodles in house. I hope they do!
M: They probably do.
J: That’s a good sign of a good restaurant. Taking good care of the basics.
M: Yes, I applaud anyone who makes their own pasta because I have not figured it out yet. At all.
M: So then we got to our last course, which was the duck! It was a duck breast, with turnips, Brussels sprouts, rutabaga, giblets & curry sauce and then it had a little jerk duck-wing on the side. And this duck was like the most tender, delicious duck I’d had in quite a while. You just cut into it and were like… oh my god this is just plump and juicy and wonderful. I’ve eaten a lot of Chinese BBQ duck so it was nice to have a different style than usual.
J: I think for me I haven’t eaten a lot of duck, and the times I’ve had it were pretty gamey, and like, a very irony-livery-taste. And this was a big departure from that. A super tasty duck. I have to complain about the vegetables though, I didn’t think they did anything for me.
M: Did you think they were too soft? I liked them.
J: It felt like they just picked whatever was at the store and boiled it. I just didn’t like it very much. The curry sauce though… That was nice. Real nice.
M: The jerk wing was good too! I got to nibble on it. I’m a big fan of chicken wings. So just even.. Having a bonus wing was like a dream!
J: That’s how every meal should be. Here’s a bonus wing. Like an aperitif.
M: Yes! I would go to a lot more restaurants if they served a wing with each course.
J: Like a palate cleanser instead of ginger!
M: Haha yes, I’d sign up for that in a heartbeat. But Edoardo Jordan, the chef/owner at Salare, just posted the recipe for that jerk wing!
J: Well, that’s our restaurant experience. The interior was nice, not a whole lot of extra things—which I appreciated. Sometimes people put too much into it and forget the food.
M: Seattle’s been pretty good about that generally, not super flashy interiors like in LA. I mean, they all have a certain aesthetic but it can’t be as expensive as other restaurants I’ve seen around. But hey maybe you never know, it could be really really hard to make it look so simple! As in all design. The service was really excellent too, our server was extremely nice and answered all my questions and helped me pick out a wine I liked! So would you go there again?
J: Most definitely. It would be interesting to go a different part of the year since I assume they change it seasonally. Man, a plate of those jerk wings with a ginger beer in the summer? I would be very okay with that. Would you go back?
M: Heck yeah dude it was delicious. I would love to go back! Maybe for brunch one of these days? It would be a bit more affordable. I mean, we came for a special occasion so we spent a bit, but brunch would be more reasonable.
2404 NE 65th St, Seattle, WA 98115