I was one of the supremely excited masses to know that former Palace executive chef,
Jose Salazar was opening his own place, Salazar in OTR. Giddy-up.
Meticulously designed by Chef and his team, Salazar has all the elements of a cozy neighborhood place: 30 seats, including a banquette, 15 bar seats (roomy enough for dining) and gorgeous full-length windows to let the light in. Chef himself finishes each dish as it leaves the kitchen, and he could often be seen bringing dishes to tables and chatting with guests. I loved the attention to detail that Salazar is bringing to the dining experience.
The menu is focused; and during my several visits; I found something new to try as well as favorites to re-order. It’s approachable but sophisticated and well, just damn good.
On a recent visit, a friend and I dined at the brightly lit, marble-topped bar.
A quick perusal of the cocktail menu yielded a Grevious Angel for me, glass of bubbly for her. I’m currently in love with Steigl Radler beer, so throw it in a drink with tequila and lime? I’m in.
Properly fortified, we started ordering starters (spoiler alert: we ordered ALOT of starters).
One of Salazar’s specialties is their Cured & Potted section; including homemade rillettes, foie gras and smoked salmon. Yes, please.
On this evening, we enjoyed the duck leg rillettes with pickled onions and jalapeno jam, slathered on toasty Blue Oven bread. This would have been a gorgeous supper in and of itself. I loved the tender, almost “pulled” duck deg with the tart onions and spicy jalapeno jam. LOVED this.
Determined to try the whole menu, Sample as much as possible, we enjoyed the Asparagus starter as well: Poached white asparagus with grapes, pistachios, ver jus, english pea puree.
Delicate, verdant and crisp. That is all.
Time for another cocktail. The talented bartenders steered me towards a Republic Sunrise: vodka, st germaine, mango, thyme, old fashioned lemon soda, grenadine.
Pretty and tasty. I mean that’s all I’m looking for in a cocktail. Thanks, boys.
Back to the feasting.
Probably one of my favorite menu items was also one of the smallest:
This darling was the size of a slider, but with so much taste. Kimchi, oysters, garlic mayo? This worked perfectly. Two facts: I did not want to share this with my friend, and I wanted 9 more.
(Yes, seriously. I wasn’t kidding when I said we ordered EVERYTHING on the menu)
Fatty, savory pork belly with crisp heat from the shishito peppers. I die.
After consuming most of the starters, it was time for dinner. Lest you think we were on an eating binge, most of the starters are small, perfect for sharing.
I’ll let this photo speak for my feelings on this gorgeous combination of perfectly cooked clams, chewy, bucatini and addictive pancetta and lemon broth….
Salazar is both cozy and elegant. Refined and comforting.
In essence, a perfect neighborhood place.
Get yourself there. And invite me.