The Salted Pig
This restaurant is closed.
I only heard about the new Southern American comfort food restaurant The Salted Pig the day it opened and was immediately hesitant. Reason 1: It occupies the oft-empty space previously home to Coco's and Frontenac Grill at Lindbergh and Conway (a cursed space that attracts only crappy food?). Reason 2: The Del Pietro family's other restaurants (Sugo's, Babbo's, Tavolo V) are all Italian, so what do they know about Southern American comfort food? Reason 3: Their shrimp and grits are $26.
You can bet that I felt like a horse's ass by the end of our meal there the other night.
The building is now clad in wood, so it sort of looks like a fancy farmhouse. The inside is spacious and continues that modern farmhouse vibe. We arrived at about 6:15 on a Thursday and it was already packed, which was a bit of a shock for me. We were one of the last tables seated without having to wait.
The menu is a bit different than what you see on their website, but close enough. They're still figuring out what works, what people want, etc. Our first starter were the Chips ($8). House made chips topped with pulled pork, melted Prairie Breeze white cheddar cheese and BBQ sauce. They're southern nachos and, like any dish that combines fried potatoes, cheese and BBQ meat, it's pretty good. I think more cheese and less BBQ sauce (or maybe a different sauce--this one was very sweet) would be a positive for the dish, but that's just me. Definitely a good sharing dish.
The Beef Brisket Chili ($5) was calling out my name, so I ordered a cup of that. Another pleasant surprise. It's more of a Texas Red chili (though it did have a few beans in it) than your typical St. Louis chili, using chunks of tender brisket instead of ground beef. The soup is a dark brick red with a serious kick to it--if you don't like spicy, you won't like this. I approve.
Another starter of note are their chipotle glazed smoked & grilled Wings ($10). They were smokey, charred, spicy, sticky and good enough to make their way into my Top 3 STL non-fried wings (along with Pi and Gobble Stop).
Ahh, the pièce de résistance: the $26 Shrimp & Grits. Oven-roasted wild gulf shrimp over Anson Mills grits served with a spicy butter sauce. This is a huge portion of shrimp and grits. You are definitely getting your money's worth. I realize now I should have taken a better perspective shot, but just imagine that bowl is really big. In a deep sea of spicy buttery goodness sat an island of grits. The grits, thankfully, were not the typical cheesy ones that have permeated St. Louis grit dishes. They were soft and buttery. It's not an appetizing description, but they kind of reminded me of scrambled eggs in texture. The shrimp resting on top were deliciously plump and juicy. I felt so guilty after I demolished the dish, but it was worth it. I didn't eat for the next two days.
If I have one critique, it's that there aren't enough veggie sides. It'd be nice if there were some smaller healthy sides, even if they were just communal like a steakhouse, to help counteract the relatively gluttonous menu. I'd also probably skip out on putting the wilted green onion on the dishes.
I'm happy to admit my preconceived notions about the restaurant were askew and I was wrong. We had four dishes and they were all enjoyable. I dig the modern farmhouse interior, all the staff we interacted with were really friendly and the food was very good. I would certainly pick The Salted Pig over the nearby Bricktop or Canyon Cafe for dinner.
731 South Lindbergh
St. Louis, MO 63131