Restaurant: Salt and Fat

Friday, June 10, 2011

My friend asked me to accompany her to Salt and Fat Restaurant (41-16 Queens Boulevard, Sunnyside) last week and I agreed to the adventure -- in spite of my occasion aversion to bacon and lardy things. The menu looked "experimental" and varied enough that I figured I'd be able to find something to like. I'm not sure I really did.

The service was friendly and informative, and not without character. Once seated, we were presented a little paper bag of popcorn popped in bacon fat or oil. I was skeptical (see above), but it did taste pretty good. The bacon flavor was fairly subtle and it wasn't overly greasy.

Lobster salad

For starters, we decided on the lobster salad (with citrus, mixed greens, Banyuls vinaigrette) and the Cobb salad (blue cheese dressing, Chinese sausage chips, spicy candied-walnuts, avocado, corn, slow poached egg). My friend preferred the lobster salad while the flavor of the Cobb salad appealed more to me at the time. The lobster salad was light, and the citrus (grapefruit and orange) were extremely ripe and sweet. I didn't think the lobster and citrus went as well together as I'd hoped, but it was still good.

Cobb salad
The Cobb salad had great flavor, but I found it a bit difficult to eat because the ingredients were -- for the most part -- very bitty and hard to pick up with a fork. For the same reason, I felt some of the ingredients did not come together in the salad ... the Chinese sausage chips were probably a little over-crisped (my friend said it tasted like pistachios rather than sausage), the candied-walnuts a little too sweet and rich, and the poached egg was a somewhat bizarre addition to the salad. But overall, I preferred the flavor to the lobster salad.

For our main meal, we chose to share the short rib buns (pickled cucumber, apricot mustard), the "Crack" & Cheese (fried potato gnocchi, cheese bechamel, bacon) and the braised pork belly tacos (pico de gallo kimchi salsa, queso fresco).

"Crack" & Cheese
The "Crack" & Cheese was probably the best of the three. In a way, though, I felt like this was a dish that I could've made at home if I'd really wanted to. It was flavorful and extremely, extremely rich -- so much so that I could only have a few bites. It kind of had a dissolve-in-your-mouth quality about it, even though it was topped with bacon "crumbles" (shards, really). If you decide to order this, I would definitely share it with one or two other people.

The other two were less memorable for me. The braised pork belly tacos were good, but the pork belly were somewhat lacking in flavor. The short rib buns were my least favorite dish of the night, though the short rib was cooked to perfection, I could not get on board the apricot mustard train. It tasted more like a really tart apricot preserve that overpowered the flavor of the meat than anything else.

Short rib buns

Braised pork belly tacos

Salt and fat aren't typically my thing and now I know for certain that I should avoid restaurants with the word "fat" in it, unless it's a diminutive for something or someone. Most of the dishes were just too rich for me to have more than a bite or two of while not offering the best flavor for the caloric content. I probably would not visit Salt and Fat again, though I have nothing bad to say about the service, atmosphere or restaurant itself. It's simply not for the faint of stomach.

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