Chef Abraham Salum opened Salum in 2005 which could seat 84 people pre-Covid 19. It has re-opened after sustaining itself with take out orders. I’d been there a number of times for both dinners and lunches and honestly don’t know why I never visited with Frankie. But it was well worth going back to and the food and service are especially appreciated now. The nice sized white cloth covered tables are well spaced and waitstaff wear masks and gloves. The kitchen area is shielded with a curtain now as it also serves as a staging area for take out orders. The guests are a varied crowd but most are attired with a dressy casual look. Windows to the street are covered with a darkening shade and the light fixtures that hang from the ceiling are covered with a gauzy fabric. It all yields a lower lighting level but not so that you can’t see your food. Also the extra spacing of patrons eliminated one of my objections from the past, that being noise when the room was full. Music plays faintly in the background. The restaurant has a full bar and so offers a specialty cocktail menu as well as a nice sized wine list. There is no tasting menu but the menu does change regularly, with the “Build your own Burger” always on the menu, both lunch and dinner. Service was attentive and friendly and the chef who was in the kitchen greeted all his guests. There is a dedicated parking lot in front.
We started with a Black Manhattan which was a bourbon Negroni made with Woodford Reserve, Averna Liqueur and Angostura Bitters. It was well made with a lovely color.
To accompany that we split the Home Made Country Pâté which comes with Dijon mustard, Cornichons, candied pecans and toasted baguette slices. There were 3 good sized slices that really didn’t have any liver flavor. It was more a meaty goodness that paired well with the little tart pickles, mustard and crisp bread slices. It was good eaten in combination or by itself – the plate had lots of fun combinations of flavor and texture. The sweet crisps nuts went great with any of it as well as were wonderful all by themselves. It was a generous plate and easily split.
The Guajillo Honey Roasted Pork Tenderloin was served on smashed new potatoes and topped with sautéed Broccolini. There was a terrific sauce underneath. The pork was slightly pink and very tender. The potatoes were really good but the broccolini was a tad undercooked for my tastes. It was a good plate and again a generous portion.
The Grilled Beef Tenderloin was served alongside a potato, Brussel Sprout, bacon, sage and cheddar gratin and topped with broccolini. The beef and gratin were placed on a demiglace, which was a more generous portion of sauce than what was with the pork. The beef was cooked a nice rare as requested and the gratin contained lots of flavors but none was dominant. It was all very good.
Desserts were given as an oral menu. We chose the Bourbon Bread pudding with chocolate that was just $8.00. It was a cupcake sized warm cake on a chilled plate. The moist cake had a wonderful warm center that went well with the creamy sauce and crisp almond slices that topped it. Several florets of chocolate ganache added richness to the plate but I tended to like them separate from the tasty bread pudding. It was a good finish to a fine meal.
Our second visit the menu had changed slightly and they were allowing 50% capacity. Chef Salum was still in the kitchen and took time to welcome all of the guests.
This visit we started with the Fried Green Tomatoes that were stuffed with crab meat and topped with a red pepper remoulade and candied pecans. The crab was a really subtle part between the two fried slices of tomatoes, sandwich style. There were 2 sandwiches to an order. The tomatoes were nicely crisp and fried but they easily overpowered the crab. It was tasty but balance was off to me. The tomatoes were fine with the sauce and nuts and didn’t really need the crabmeat to make this a winning starter.
We also asked for the complimentary bread basket that came with 3 types of rolls – white, wheat and olive – and butter. All the rolls were warm, nicely doughy and tasty. It would be easy to fill up on this one.
For a main plate we both got the Grilled Blackened Monkfish that came with a Texas Field Pea and Heirloom tomatoes warm salad. The baseball sized chunk of fish was sitting in the middle of the a small skillet. The salad was runny and filled with the peas, onions and tomatoes. It was a good sauce for the fish which was well seasoned and tasty. A really good dish.
As a side dish we had the Fried Rice with Pineapple curry. It was a nice serving of tasty rice and sweet pineapple with chives, carrots and egg. It was really good and a fun, different side dish.
Again desserts are an oral menu but Chef Salum has been reguarly making cakes which the server highly recommended. We had the chocolate layer cake with a sauce of Crème Anglaise and a couple fresh raspberries ($12). It was a totally moist cake with wonderful chocolate frosting adding to the richness of the chocolatey layers of cake. The sauce moistened it even further. It was delicious.