This one is going to be a long post – I have a lot to say.
Let’s start by saying we’ve wanted to go here for a few months now, so we were really keyed up when we decided on this place. Salut is kind of an American-fare restaurant with a French twist. Inside it looks a bit like a French bistro, with red and white checkered table cloths and upscale without being completely snooty. We always see people sitting on the patio and the place looks packed all the time. We got some reservations and did it up.
As usual, we looked at the menu online, so we knew with about 85% confidence what we would be getting. Of course, the specials sometimes confound that plan, but we’re versatile in most situations (when it comes to food, especially).
The waitress brought us out some crackers with garlic/beet puree. It looked red and scary, but was actually pretty darn good. (I’ve decided I can do beets now, thanks to Dwight Schrute.) It was kind of the like the chef’s special appetizer. It ruled. We also got some French bread (it’s kind of French, remember?) and some super salty butter which I’m a huge fan of (getting huge-er).
Gerd decided on the burger, which we saw made the list of best burgers in Minnesota. It was huge and awesome. All covered with cheese and stuff. Honestly, it’s one the best burgers I’ve ever had. It should be number one on that list from what I’ve seen, but I know the people at Matt’s will put up a fight if I start lobbying for that. Seriously. It was awesome. The fries we’ve also heard about and the waitress recommended us trying them since we hadn’t been here before. They were REALLY good fries. Lightly seasoned and cooked much darker brown than fast food places. Get these fries, people. You’ll thank me for it.
I ended up with the Roasted Chicken Tagine. I discovered the wonders of the tagine this past summer at Williams Sonoma. I saw this triangle shaped pan on the shelf at WS and couldn’t figure out what it was. So I asked (Yes, I’m a guy, but I can still ask for help when I need it – see previous statement about food-related things). The worker told me all about the tagine, I don’t remember any of it, except you cook it with this pyramid shaped lid on it and all the juices run back down the sides and back into the food. You can cook many things at once and they all end up super moist. I was sold. Unfortunately, these things are multiple hundreds of dollars, so the tagine was not sold to ME. (If I find out I can make mac and cheese or bacon in this thing though, I might reconsider…)
Since I saw it on the menu, I went for it. Basically a half chicken with Moroccan spices and couscous. It had to be good right? The server (not our waitress) brought it out and promptly dumped a container of sri racha sauce onto my pants and freaked out. There were all kinds of napkins flying around and apologies. I told her not to worry about it after we got it cleaned up as well as we could. Then she said, “good thing I’m not your waitress,” and walked back into the kitchen. Hilarious. A manager came over to make sure I wasn’t going to stab anyone and gave me a shout pen to help with the stain (they’re in the washing machine right now, so I don’t know if the stain is coming out yet). He also was super apologetic. And our waitress came out and apologized as well. I think we’re good here, folks. It’s fine. Now I have hot pants. No worries.
Back to the tagine-ified chicken. This is a brilliant way to cook chicken. The flavor was awesome. I can’t tell you what Moroccan spices really are, but I know they are good. The couscous absorbed tons of the flavor as well, so the whole thing was awesome. I will stop right here though and tell you about my hatred of high-labor food. I hate to eat things that take longer to dismantle and get ready to eat than they do actually eat. Half-chickens are near the top of the list, as are whole walnuts, oranges (depending on my mood), and fajitas. Only lychees and peanuts are worth me spending any time on. And now, the tagine half-chicken is almost making it into the list. I really loved it, but I need to hire a food servant that will disassemble the chicken for me next time (I wonder if they’d be offended if I asked for chicken strips instead of bone-filled chicken) (I wonder if I could combine the tagine with Popeye’s and melt people’s faces with the awesomeness that would be what I would call – ca-jine [Cajun + tagine]) (I rule).
Bottom line, buy yourself a blast shield for your clothing and go eat here. It’s awesome. It’s slightly pricey, but you really will get what you pay for here. They have a raw bar there also – which is where you can hunt your own oysters (they’re fast critters from what I hear) and slurp them away from the table you’re sitting at.
Top 5 things about Salut
1. Tagine chicken
2. Amazing burger
3. Frites (French fries) ruled
4. Very friendly (and apologetic) staff
5. Beet/Garlic paste
Bottom 5 things
1. High-labor food
2. Spill-y McGee
3. Slightly pricey, especially in today’s economic… blah blah blah
4. It’s usually packed to the gills
5. I should have whipped my pants off after they spilled on me, just to guilt them into a free meal