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claudia kwan/for metro vancouver
309 Third Ave. South, Seattle, WA
Lunch for 3, including tax, tip, and drinks: $35
Last week I mentioned there was a story behind every item served at Salt, a Vancouver charcuterie restaurant in Gastown, so this week, Dining Diary is taking a look at an artisanal company making that type of product run by the family of ebullient Food Network chef Mario Batali.
If going to Salt is like lounging back at your hipster friend’s pad, Salumi in Seattle is a visit to Nonna’s kitchen.
The Batali family is intimately involved in every step of precisely crafting exceptional cured meats, from father Armandino applying three decades of quality control experience at Boeing to the process, to sister Gina adding the personal touch behind the counter, and an aunt rolling out fresh gnocchi in the front window.
It’s exactly the kind of place where you’ll be told to eat a little more, to maybe try something other than what you first want to order, and where you’ll be slipped a few pieces of a new product. While you’re waiting in the perpetual line, you can read the posted menu or decide if you want any of the daily specials that have been cooked and then displayed on a ledge in the curing room.
We sit at a communal table to dig into a meatball sandwich, stuffed with three gigantic juicy meatballs and dripping with tomato sauce and cheese. The same rustic chewy bread is served with a sampler platter that showcases salami of every flavour imaginable: fennel, oregano, garlic, curry, chili pepper, ginger, vanilla, nutmeg, even chocolate.
Although fat has been ground in to provide the right consistency, every piece is greaseless, and even the outer edges aren’t dry. Mild and strong cheeses and olives deliver a flurry of additional knockout punches to the palate.
I’d love to buy a pound of lamb prosciutto or Italian bacon to bring home, but technically speaking, the folks working behind the counter tell me Canadians are not allowed to bring these things across the border. It tastes better served in person anyway, with love in every bite.