The Salty Pig, review, 7/31/12

I love having dinner with friends who you don’t have to be polite around and vice versa. I love having dinner with friends who just love a good meal, whether cheap or on the pricy side.

Case in point: A friend from San Francisco is in town this week for work. So, a few of us agreed on dinner. But where to? After much googling/reading other reviews, and mapping a restaurant that was close to our visitor’s hotel, we picked The Salty Pig.

The Salty Pig is in the Back Bay, more or less between Back Bay Station (orange line subway station) and the Copley Mall. None of us had ever been before. It’s a small-to-medium sized restaurant where we had no trouble getting seats on a Tuesday evening.

After some mulling over and much consultation with our friendly waitstaff, we started with a charcuterie plate of:

Porchetta, Langhirano, ITA
Salami with ghost peppers (from the daily specials)
Cabot Clothbound Cheddar
Midnight Moon, Gouda
marinated olives
fig jam
pickled Basque peppers

They don’t give you enough bread to go with your charcuterie plate, but our waitress made sure that we were never lacking, so it didn’t matter.  Our waitress also doled out fun info like “we make our own fig jam.”  And seriously, we loved that little dish of fig jam.  It went well with the cheeses and the meats.  The porchetta (lower right) topped with jam was my favorite.  We also really liked the cheddar paired with the spicy salami.  I believe the waitress said that the meat serving was 2oz each, which doesn’t seem a lot at all to share, but trust me when I say that it’s enough to nibble on while you wait for your main meal.

We also shared a serving of crispy chicken skin (a daily special).  It was not healthy, but it was most certainly delicious!  It was crisped up well, and the breading had a hidden seasoning in it that was familiar but we couldn’t place it.  (No, we were definitely not thinking of KFC.)

And then for our main meal, we shared two thin crust pizzas (and they were very thin crusts indeed).  The first was mushroom, tomato, herbs (mostly scattered sprigs of fresh parsley), and a farm egg.  Everybody’s reaction on first bite was “why don’t we have an egg, sunny side up, on pizza more often?”  It was quickly a favorite of flavor combinations.  The fresh parsley was interesting too.  I kept expecting to bite into basil, and I was constantly surprised (but not in a bad way) by the bright flavor of parsley.

Since the crusts are so thin, and there were four of us all together, we decided to order a second pizza which came off of the daily specials menu.  It was salami with shishito peppers and a farm egg.  We were amused that we ordered the two pizzas that came with egg without planning it.  Otherwise, guests can order an egg as an extra to be topped on their pizza.  The salami with shishito peppers was an interesting contrast to the mushroom pizza.  The overall flavors were more subdued but sweeter.

There’s no dessert menu, but I don’t think we could have eaten any dessert by that point.  We were very full and content.  I’ve read some reviews that thought The Salty Pig was costlier than it needed to be, but we were in unanimous agreement that The Salty Pig is very affordable without compromising on quality.  Including three drinks that are not pictured, our subtotal was $98.  $98 divided among a table of four?  I don’t call that overpriced.  And if there hadn’t been drinks, our subtotal would have been about $70.  Our check was given to us inside a small black notebook that you are welcome to write in.  We started to read and look through it which was a lot of fun.  Previous guests wrote good comments about their meal, about the waitstaff, or drew in silly pictures of pigs/cats/Kilroy was here.

Vegetarians aren’t totally out of luck here, but they would be severely limited to a cheese plate with condiments, the simple salad, and the Magherita pizza.  Vegans are SOL.

I’m very much of the opinion that we’ll come back again, sooner rather than later.  We haven’t ordered any of the salads or the entree plates yet.  (^_~)

http://www.thesaltypig.com/

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