salt & cleaver

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 inside view

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. 

Salt & Cleaver - peek at the deck

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 Jalapeno Sausage at Salt & Cleaver in San Diego, CA

[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 'n Cheese at Salt & Cleaver in San Diego, CA

[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 at Salt & Cleaver in San Diego, CA

[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
(619) 756-6677

Salt & Cleaver on Urbanspoon

8 thoughts on “salt & cleaver

  1. Ooh I need to try this place sometime. I always walk by it but have never gone in even though ti looks like a lively happy hour spot. I think I would have picked the same mac and cheese as you :)))

    1. Hi J.S. – mmm, that mac! They have a ton of different things I want to try on the sides menu and different sausages. It’s so good, hope you get some sausages!

  2. These sausages and that mac and cheese look soooo good. I mentioned on Facebook that this place is on my list now! Mmmmmmm, you really can’t go wrong with sausages and mac! Bummer about the last one, though, toppings falling off all over the place isn’t a desireable outcome for eatin’!

    1. Yeah I’m a believer in less toppings! They have lots of tasty sounding things on the menu so of course you must go get you some sausages 🙂

  3. Kirbie and I went here when they opened a few summers ago. I remember liking her Lobster sausage and my Pork Belly sausage as well as their housemade sauces. There were so many good choices on their menu.

    1. I remember your posts about it! I don’t remember seeing lobster on there this time, or pork belly. Perhaps seasonal thing, or they were just trying out new stuff for the winter. I want to try more of their sides next time, actually. There was a lot of good sounding items on their menu.

  4. I was so excited when I saw the title of this post! I’ve been really interested in coming here but haven’t made it out yet. I’m definitely having sausage when we go here! I sampled them at Bacon and Barrels booth but for both Hillcrest events last year (taste of, taste ‘n tinis) they ran out of food. Made me crave even more! Good visit!

    1. Hi Lynn – It took us a while to head back there to try it but I’m glad we did. The sausages are really good. We’re excited about a future revisit to try more of the delicious sounding side dishes.

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