When it launched, Salt of the Earth paved the way for a new approach to Pittsburgh fine dining with its open kitchen, communal tables, industrial design and grittier neighborhood location. Recently, founding Chef Kevin Sousa passed the torch to then Sous-Chef, Chad Townsend, and though many of the core elements remain, Townsend is reshaping the restaurant to reflect his influences and goals.
As a means for showcasing this new guard and to highlight the local, seasonal menu, the restaurant launched a new Sunday dinner series called #SaltSundays. As a kickoff, Salt whet the appetite of foodies at Pittsburgh Magazine’s Best Restaurants 2014 event by distributing cards inviting guests to a new dining experience. Through invites and a twitter contest, Townsend and crew filled the seats for the inaugural Sunday, and I was lucky enough to attend.
If you’ve ever strolled a streetside Parisian antique/flea market at lunchtime, you have observed the inspiration for this #saltsundays menu. At that hour, the vendors ignore the folk browsing their wares, procure their portable tables and set them with the most lovely of picnics. Their slow meals of roasted chicken, potatoes, fresh bread (of course!) and perhaps some wine and cheeses are a testament to their rich culinary history and slow approach to meals (and to drinking at lunch!). Being the Francophile that he is, Townsend channeled the French style picnic indoors.
The menu was refined in a way that exudes skill and thoughtfulness. The decor was bright, fresh, and transforming, making this meal a unique experience. The chef was happy and humble, graciously presenting and thanking all the hands involved in the meal. It was the perfect representation of what’s to come for Chad and his team, and it’s worth following, so stay tuned to #saltsundays!