Seattle, WA, tasted on May 12, 2004 — I really do try to
focus exclusively on the food in every experience that I share. I
typically don't worry about atmosphere, service, etc. And ultimately
that's because I will put up with almost anything for wonderful
food. The one thing I do let color my judgment is location. Not in
the sense of whether the restaurant is in a good neighborhood, but
simply acknowledging the fact that most people don't get to travel
to Italy when they want great Italian food. And while location does
have a modest bearing on my judgment, it never catapults something
beyond where it should be in my estimation. And so here we are
eating in a "mom and pop" Italian deli in downtown Seattle for
lunch. And the truth is that there are likely many just like it
dotting the east coast of the United States. But in Seattle, there
Salumi. And in fact, even though Salumi's uniqueness stands out
because of its isolation in the pacific northwest, the truth is that
its yummy food would make it stand out just about anywhere.
Salumi is basically three things: 1) an Italian deli serving weekday
lunches to downtown wokers, 2) a sometime private Friday night dinner
establishment favoring only its most regular customers with an
invitation (since I work on the outskirts of Seattle I've never been
able to go there enough to rise on the Salumi leaderboard), and 3) a
salumeria curing their own meats. For most people 1 and 3 are enough to
make for a pretty positive experience.
On this day we hauled ass from the suburbs to get to
Salumi before the lunch rush. But that really is essentially
impossible as there appears to be a
line out the door no matter what time you arrive. That said, even
though it usually seems highly unlikely, by the time you get through the
line and have your food in hand, a spot usually opens up at one of the
small tables or the
big communal table where friendly customers and
serving staff all seem to enjoy and contribute to the friendly
atmosphere. But most important is the food.
Taking advantage of the in house meat curing we of
course started off with a
platter of cured meats and cheeses. The neatest thing was that each
of the cured items was spicy in its own unique way. It made for an
Our other platter, filled with "hot meat" got lots of envious
stares. The brisket in particular was so soft, tasty, juicy, and oily in
a good way.
We also ordered a bunch of sandwiches. The
was super savory, and especially excellent with chunks of gorgonzola
that I added to it as I gorged. Even the simple
salami and cheese sandwich
was delicious mostly I think because of how simple it was letting the
triumvirate of the bread salami and cheese do their thing.
I typically worry about two things with a
meatball sub: 1) overly-herbed meatballs and/or sauce, and 2) too
much sauce turning the whole sandwich into a soggy mess. Overall things
were pretty balanced though. There were definitely herbs in the
meatballs, but they didn't distract at all. And finally, the
sandwich slathered in tomato, onion, and peppers was gorgeous. The bread
did a good job soaking up the juice.
Much in the same way that the sharing a sample of yummy
goodness was a telling moment at Katz's, the
that was delivered to our table was also emblematic of the positivity
everyone felt as they ate their lunch. The prosciutto itself had a sheen of
beautiful oil, a gorgeous color, and was chewy and a touch gamey in a good way.
Salumi is essentially a neighborhood Italian deli that
just happens to cure its own meat. And lucky for those that work in
downtown Seattle, Salumi is right nearby.