It’s not the easiest place to find – or to eat. Quirky hours (11-4 Tuesday through Friday), an inevitable line out the door, decision-making on your feet, a communal table… but this is what makes Salumi so special and so memorable.
Just google “Salumi Seattle” and you’ll see that so much has already been said in local and national newspaper reviews, food and travel message boards, etc. about “Mario’s Dad’s” salumeria that cures its own meats and serves them, with selected other Italian specialties, to loyal locals and long-distance foodies who’ve made the pilgrimage to this omnivore’s mecca. Anthony Bourdain even spotlighted it on a recent episode of No Reservations. It’s big-time for the small space on a funky corner in Pioneer Square, a stone’s throw from the International District.
Not able to commit to anything in particular, we recently ordered the cold plate, featuring a sampling of meats, cheeses, olives, and bread. We sat down, contemplating the honor system wine and pouring olive oil for dipping while rubbing elbows with our neighbors (“Would you please pass the napkins… and how is that lamb sausage, anyway?”) until our food came. The salami in particular was special, with its gorgeous marbling, and we especially liked the mole (with its chocolate, cinnamon, and hot pepper notes) and the finocchiona (the cracked fennel and touch of curry made it our favorite).
In the end, while it was fun to try such variety, we felt curiously as-salted by the cured meats (we didn’t realize how much we’d appreciate all the bread they gave us). Delicious, but hey: you can always get samples at the counter! Maybe next time, with visions of oxtail and brisket and braised pork cheeks, we’ll try the hot meat plate. Or, we’ll go back to our old strategy of ordering one hot dish and one sandwich for two people. And if we go enough, maybe we can reach elite status and get invited to one of those special dinners they occasionally offer their best customers. Not the easiest invitation to get, we’re told.
Originally posted at Seattlest (where “we” = me) on February 9, 2007.