Salt & Cleaver is a restaurant located over in Hillcrest. I remember when they were talking about opening this place in San Diego that originally they wanted to call it “Abe Froman’s” from a character in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”. Abe Froman was the “Sausage King of Chicago” in the movie and I thought it would have been a much cooler name, but hey… it is what it is. Jake and I first sampled Salt and Cleaver earlier this year at the Taste of Hillcrest and both of us loved it so much that we really wanted to go back, but weren’t able to until recently. I’m glad we finally tried it out! Fo’ reals this time and not just a sample!
Salt & Cleaver has a fun interior with the bar in the center and booths all around it. There were some funny signs that cracked me up, like a hanging chalkboard that said, “I’m board!” on it.
There’s also a little patio area for outdoor seating. They have two garage doors that open up into the outside creating a little extra space.
[bacon, cheddar & jalapeño sausage / $9]
Jake and I decided to share things (you know, the usual) and our first choice was the Bacon, Cheddar and Jalapeño sausage. It’s a pork bratwurst sausage that got bits of bacon, cheese and jalapeño stuffed into the sausage. On Jake’s first bite, he got a burst of cheese which he really loved. The cheese was a perfect pairing with this sausage. It was very flavorful and juicy. The jalapeño definitely shined through to give it a little bit of heat. I’d eat a bit, think it was spicy, and then eat some more because I liked it anyway. I guess I like sorta spicy things now. Hmm!
This sausage was our definite favorite of the meal.
[s&c mac / $7]
They have two versions of mac and cheese here – one with Velveeta that Jake wanted to try and I didn’t – and this one made with white cheddar, shells and gremolata (which is basically just an herb mixture but I believe they include it with bread crumbs as you can see). Jake didn’t think there was enough sauce and cheese on it but I thought it was just right. The shells were just coated enough to create a creamy, cheesy texture that I really enjoyed. The gremolata added a nice zing and crunch that I loved as well. I was amused to see that the side of bread was just one half of their hot dog bun grilled (very tasty actually – they use a really nice hot dog bread).
[california sausage / $11]
The last item we choose (if you want to be technical, Jake choose it) was this California Sausage which is made our of marinate carne asada and has a ton of toppings on it, including: S&C fries, guacamole, sour cream and pico de gallo. We thought this would be a fun twist on a carne asada nachos but actually it just seemed like “too much”. It was unwieldy to eat it since one bite made lots of stuff fall off. I always think “simpler is better” so for me I thought it was a bit of an overkill on the topping. Jake and I both thought the sausage was just okay in this instead. Jake thought it would be more like carne asada pieces – so like carne asada nachos in a bun – but instead it is actually a sausage. This one didn’t do it for us but I’m sure others would enjoy it. We liked the simpler sausage better with all of the flavors and goodie bits inside of the sausage instead of on top.
We will definitely be back to try out more of their menu. There’s so many delicious sounding things on there, how could we not come back?!
Salt & Cleaver
3805 5th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92103