SURPRISED BY FIG JAM :
Salty Pig’s open kitchen, crowded bar, and exotic menu make it more appealing than it may sound
The Salty Pig
130 Dartmouth St., Boston
Monday – Thursday
11 a.m. – 12 a.m.
Friday 11 a.m. – 1 a.m.
Saturday 10:30 a.m. – 1 a.m.
Sunday 10:30 a.m. – 12 a.m.
Although the restaurant name may not sound very appetizing, The Salty Pig is a great option if you are in the mood for charcuterie. To get to The Salty Pig, you can walk through the Prudential Center and cut through Copley Place. Once you exit the mall, the restaurant will be right there.
Since I went for dinner on a Wednesday night, I had expected that there would be no need for a reservation. However, that assumption turned out to be wrong, and I spent 30 minutes walking around in the mall while waiting for a table. When I first walked into the restaurant, I was struck by the loud conversations and the dark yet warm ambience. Most of the customers looked to be in their late twenties or early thirties, and I noticed that an open kitchen and a crowded bar took up about half the floor space of the restaurant. In particular, a chef stood near the entrance and entertained by throwing dough up in the air to make pizza.
The Salty Pig is known for its meat and cheese, which are served together on a wooden board. However, you can also order pastas or pizzas. Furthermore, the restaurant has an extensive drinks menu, which includes many exotic-sounding cocktails.
Feeling less than adventurous, I passed up on pork head and beef tongue, and instead ordered the smoked chorizo (pork sausage) and pork ventresca (Italian style pork belly). For the cheese, I chose fresh chèvre, a type of goat cheese from New Hampshire. To supplement both, I added on fig jam.
I first tried each item by itself. The chorizo was dark red and tasted similar to other sausages I have had. Still, I very much enjoyed the bursts of spiciness. Between the two meat options, however, I definitely preferred the pork belly, which was sliced extremely thin. Although it appeared very fatty, I hardly felt like I was eating fat because of its thinness. I then moved on to the cheese. I had expected the goat cheese to have a very strong flavor, but it turned out to be quite mild. It was also creamy and seemingly dissolved in my mouth. Finally, I had the fig jam, whose grainy texture amplified its sweetness and slight bitterness. To my surprise, the jam was actually my favorite item on the board. After the individual tasting, I proceeded to mix and match the meat, cheese, and jam. Amazingly, all the combinations tasted great — even the chorizo and jam.
To get a better sense of the food options at The Salty Pig, I also ordered the chicken confit pizza, which had apples, squash, cranberries, goat ricotta, and chicken as toppings. Instead of using tomato sauce, the pizza only had cheese as its base. As a result, this turned out to be the fruitiest pizza I have ever had. The highlight was the cranberries, which burst with every bite, and whose sourness provided a welcoming contrast to the taste of cheese.
Overall, I was very impressed by the offerings at The Salty Pig. If you are looking to try something different, charcuterie is a good start. For me, what made the restaurant even better was the quality of its pizzas. If you are over 21, The Salty Pig is a great place to hang out with your friends and grab some light food and a few drinks. If not, I would still definitely recommend that you give this restaurant a try. Since I only sampled a few of the meat and cheese options, I look forward to coming back and trying out the rest. Perhaps I will even order some pork head and beef tongue next time.