We’ve been visiting Wes Johnson’s SALT since he opened it late last spring. We live within walking distance to this converted old mansion formerly the location of Savor restaurant. Given its close proximity to our home, focus on local ingredients, and fresh seasonal menu, we’ve had several dinners and brunch at Salt. Wes has been racking up the awards recently: RTF’s best new restaurant and winner of the Chef battle at Taste STL. We have generally enjoyed dining at Salt, and we’ve watched Wes grow and enhance the restaurant over the last 6 months. Robin found out via twitter (@enjoysalt) that Wes and co. were planning a beer and wild game dinner, featuring her favorite, sour beer, so we couldn’t pass it up.
On prior trips to Salt we’ve enjoyed several dishes, that are now basically permanent members of the menu. The “seared scallop” with mustard, cedar smoke, and herbs is one of our favorite dishes, comes served in a tiny mason jar, and traps the cedar smoky goodness inside…for us, one of the better seafood dishes we’ve had in St. Louis. Wes also prepares a fantastic lamb dish, well seasoned and cooked perfectly on the rare side with herbs and jelly. In addition, they make a now somewhat famous sorghum lacquered duck, and duck-fat fried chicken. The trend here is that Wes likes to use more non-traditional meat varieties…he takes a more creative, risky approach to his cooking than many of the other chefs in St. Louis. (This isn’t to say we don’t have adventurous chefs, just not as many as we should).
The beer portion of the sour beer dinner was largely organized and put together in a team fashion. Chris Shea (Morgan Street Brewery, Assistant Brew Master) and bar manager Matt Obermark worked with Wes Johnson to pair some rare sour beers with wild game dishes influenced by seasonal autumn flavors. The dinner took place deep in the old mansion’s wine cellar at a large communal table and was presented family style with generous platters for all of us to share.