I have had Salento Steakhouse on my “to do” list for quite a while. My reason for not going, the first, the distance over 20 miles, the second I know a great deal about meats but have minimal exposure to all the other beautiful items that populate the menu, crazy right? Well really only two things, Arapas and Empanadas, how would I know if they were right or not since I have never experienced either? That’s when you enlist a friend you trust and set the date.
Although they offer outside seating the weather was not suitable, once you step inside, you know it is the best choice. You can almost believe you have been transported to another country. Everywhere there are posters and artwork reminiscent of the country. Dark wooden tables and benches for large parties, Spanish music played softly, but it’s the aroma of grilled meat that pulls you in.
When our server arrived, she presented us with a lovely carafe of water with sprigs of fresh mint, a very nice touch. She was very thorough about going over all the options for us before we ordered. Since there were only two of us we ordered the item that would best give us a good sampling of the menu, the Salento Combination Special for two: with steak, chicken, ribs, chorizo, and pork rind, we added the Fried Yellow Potatoes, Corn Cakes, Fried Casava, and the Sweet Plantains. When the platter arrived, it was like who is going to eat all this food? Along with the plate a trio of dipping sauces to compliment the meat; homemade chimichurri, hot habanero sauce, and paprika sauce.
We were delighted, the flavors everything we hoped for and then more. The chicken and steak were the least exotic for us; it was the pork rind (chicharron), I just snapped off the cuts and munched away, much like eating extra crispy thick cut bacon but better. Not usually a fan of chorizo, when I enquired if they made the chorixo in house, I did learn the meat is sent to a local facility for processing, but the recipe is 100% that of the owners. I could have eaten two of these that’s how good I thought they were. The corn cakes were quite tasty and the perfect compliment to the fatty meat. Plantains fried, were sweet to the taste and cut into halves for sharing. Yuca offered up a nice crunch after I tasted it I do recall having sampled Yuca at another time.
So final verdict, it was well worth the drive for me, and I do plan on returning to sample other meats, arepas, and empanadas, the lamb chops, and skewers.