Salt. It’s a substance that inherently makes other substances taste better. Sow. It’s lady pig that, well, tastes good regardless. Combine the two and you have Salty Sow, a gastropub in Phoenix looking to bring some very gastropubby fare, drawing upon all sorts of classic American food, to the desert.
So we began with a taste of the south. Namely in the form of Stone Ground White Corn Cheese Grits. The cheese was cheddar and it was some of the strongest I’ve ever tasted in grits – in the best of ways. Moreover, these grits were not runny, but also not dried out. So, again, delicious.
Then there were the Green Chile Pork Stew Nachos special, which was there regular green chile pork stew on top of nacho chips along with all the expected nacho toppings. Once again, the Salty Sow nailed it with a great ratio of toppings to chips, plus the stew was packed with flavor and a punch of spice.
Finally, for my main course I went with the French Dip-Roasted Rare on the recommendation of my waiter over the burger. When it arrived it was undoubtedly rare, but surprisingly small. I’ve come to expect such sandwiches on a baguette at the minimum, but this was on a small brioche bun. Regardless, it was packed with plenty of meat. The au jus was perfect, as was the horseradish sauce. The only thing I really could have asked for was to have the meat distributed over a larger bun like, you know, a normal french dip. And I only say that because it can be tough to bite through rare meat like this, and also because the brioche bun just didn’t feel right with a sandwich like this.
I should also mention that the sandwich came with a side of fries, which at the Salty Sow, means Duck Fat Fries. They were undoubtedly some great fries, but they did not go overboard with the duck fat itself. If you’re not into duck fat this is a great thing, but if you really dig the stuff, you may have been disappointed. As for me, since they were just a side I had no complaints, but if I had ordered them as an appetizer I would have cared more about the lack of quack.
And because our waiter was awesome and loved our table so much he treated us to dessert. And no, he had no idea I was such an important food blogger. Best of all, he picked the Bananas Foster Beignets, which are what we probably would have picked if we were going for our own. Essentially, this was slices of banana fried in a doughnut-esque batter, topped with syrup and honey, with ice cream. So, yeah, it was a fantastic way to end the meal.
Salty Sow did an amazing job with all of the non-entree food, but I can’t help but think that the french dip could have tweaked a few things to take it to the next level. Regardless, it’s a place I wouldn’t hesitate to return to.