Salt’s Cure was one of those places I’d heard a lot about, namely for its in-house meat-curing prowess, but somewhere I somehow hadn’t yet tried. I don’t know a lot about butchering or curing meat, but I generally respect that sort of dedication.
The location (no garish signs) suggested low-key, and aside from its glass facade, the restaurant’s decor and layout had a certain intimacy that only a two-chef open kitchen that makes-to-order can lend. I sat at the bar surrounding the kitchen space, ordered a ginger beer (I’m unfortunately allergic to alcohol, so the appearance of ginger beers on more menus has been a real blessing). The restaurant also emphasizes locally-sourced products, and the mise-en-place had a quality feel to it (I remember fresh cuts of cheese, unshucked oysters, newly baked loaves of bread, bright purple onions, ripe apricots).
It was a nice vantage point from which to watch a few professionals work – slices of bread grilled for mussels in ale, a forgotten half-chicken magically pulled from the oven, crisped and brown and its jus simmered in herbs and butter, handfuls of spigarello braised and plated.
To start, I ordered some potted pork and homemade pickles. The oven-warmed pretzel bread bun was a great vehicle for the potted pork, nestled in its small jar below a half-inch-thick layer of lard. The pickles, crisp and sharply flavored, offset the heavier bites of bread and pork.
6:30pm on a Monday predictably made for an empty restaurant, but also for a nice chat with one of the chefs about the restaurant (two years old, and came close to launching a deli-concept outpost in Silverlake), the slightly bowl-shaped uncooked hamburger patty (the meat expands as it cooks, so the hollowed middle fills), and the charcuterie:
Me: “Other than the potted pork, what else would you recommend?”
Chef: “Pork ham. No question.”
Me: “What about the pork cheek?”
Chef: “That’s good, too. But the pork ham, that shit is just…sexy.”
The bacon cheeseburger (medium-rare was the house suggestion) was juicy without being too raw, the poppyseeds on the toasted bun a nice touch. Satisfied, I finished the night with a cup of french press coffee.
7494 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90046
Charcuterie plate: (1) Potted pork or (2) pork ham with (3) homemade pickles (ask for the pretzel bun). For a fattier cut of meat, try the pork cheek.
Main: (4) Bacon cheeseburger (medium rare)