I’ve been enchanted by the gourmet food scene – local produce, seasonal ingredients, inspired and unique recipes – for as long as I’ve been watching Foodnetwork (which has been a bonding channel for my mom and I for as long as I can remember.) It makes sense to adapt menus to the ingredients’ unique properties rather than forcing ingredients to make the normal expected platters of the masses.
So of course I fell in love with the new Salut Kitchen Bar in Tempe. It’s got an upscale recycle kitsch feel to it that seemed very classy yet casual, perfect for the University environment. The one page menu offered a mouth-watering selection of appetizers, salads, burgers and entrées at a decent price. The back of the menu listed their extensive selection of wines and beers. And then they had yet another menu for their creative and unusual cocktails (they range on the more expensive side, but believe me they are worth the splurge!)
My friends and I decided to share several of the tapas: the Chef’s plate (smoked gouda, honey white cheddar, brie, 3 meats, home brined black, green and purple olives, goat cheese stuffed papadew peppers, chipotle sauce, figs, and seasoned nuts with 4 slices of toast), the Grilled Halloumi Cheese with microgreens and capers, and the Hummus Nachos (fried pita with hummus, balsamic reduction, and the pièce de la résistance – pomegranate seeds.)
Needless to say it was a religious experience. The meats were exactly what sliced beef and cured pork should taste and chew like, the cheeses complimented the olives, figs and meats. The olives were so juicy and perfectly salty. The papadew peppers had a delightful tang and bite to them that the creamy goat cheese smoothed out.
The Hummus Nachos were so divinely created that I ate most of them with my eyes closed, slowly chewing the crispy and doughy pita, savoring the complex combination of tangy hummus and sweet balsamic. The bright burst of pomegranate juice was the epitome of harmony (I was so disappointed that there was only one seed per pita nacho.)
Top off this amazing meal with an unending supply of mimosas (a Sunday special,) and it was one of the best food experiences I have enjoyed here in the states.