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Salumi: yea or nay?

j
Jazzaloha Sep 4, 2010 11:50 PM

This seems to be one of "must try" places recommended to visitors, and I wanted to start a thread to really help people make the decision. If people respond with their yeas and nays, I'll try to compile them at the end so that visitors to Seattle can get a sense of what chowhounds feel about the place. Of course, the more detail you give about your experience, the better.

Before I turn this thread loose, I wanted to share my recent experience with Salumi.

We got there quarter to 11:00 and waited forty-five minutes to order our food. Was it worth the wait? Th short answer, imo, is no. That's not to say the food was bad. It wasn't. I liked the porchetta(sp?), particularly the seasoning/herbs. The bread was not too thick for this sandwich, especially since there were chunks of meet, which lead to a nice ratio of meat-to-bread. (Some sandwiches I saw didn't have this good ratio, however.)

We also ordered the salumi platter (cold), which came with a variety of salami. It was good, but not something you *must* try. However, I must say that I'm not a big salami/cured meats type of person. So maybe people who love cured meats just appreciate this more. (Let's here from you if this is true.)

Oh yeah we also got the green beans with pesto. The pesto was a bit too mild (although a friend disagreed). This was enjoyable, but, again, not something I'd say you have to go out of your way to try.

One last thing. I've read some comments about the uppity service. On the day we went, everyone that was very polite and friendly. I had no complaints about that.

The final verdict? Well, we only got a few items, and there were other things I wanted to try. Maybe I just didn't get the item that would have blown me away. But just based on this one experience, I wouldn't say it's a "must try." On the other hand, if you're a cured meats fan, that may be a different story.

I can't say that you shouldn't go to this place, but, at this point, I don't think it's a must try, either. If I had to choose one, I'd say, "nay."

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Salumi
309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

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    Leper RE: Jazzaloha Sep 5, 2010 03:42 AM

    I have traveled extensively in Italy and I can honestly say that Armandino & Gina Batali have captured the essence of a fading old world approach to food. (Whereas millions of Americans fill Olive Gardens every night to partake of boiled-in-a-bag chicken breasts covered in a sauce best described as "dreck.") In Italy, you will never have a caprisi salad in February when the tomatoes are not in season. At Salumi, you will experience gnocci made fresh by hand by Mario's mother covered in a simple tomato oxtail sauce that in Italy is called "gravy." Meats cured in traditions hundreds of years old. Pork cheeks sought out from local butchers to be converted into recipes developed in Parma, Italy centuries ago. Salumi's aura ensures that Chowhounds from around the world gather together in such a humble setting, standing in line each day to capture, for a moment, this timeless experience. They meet each other at the communal table to share stories and revere the rarity of being together at this time--at this moment--to carry on the storied history of an ancient country that still tries to keep those traditions alive. Humble wine, simple bread and joyous laughter all come together in to create an etherial experience that can best be described in the new world language of English. And that word is: Sublime.

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    Salumi
    309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

    Olive Garden
    4221 196th St SW, Lynnwood, WA 98036

    1. n
      Neecies RE: Jazzaloha Sep 5, 2010 04:40 AM

      I'm with Leper.

      And frankly, if you don't 'get' cured meats, and your soul isn't refreshed by communal tables and a trusting host in an untrusting world who puts out bottles of wine for customers to help themselves to and pay when they leave--which you must not be, since you didn't mention even mention this, then your 'nay' isn't very qualified.

      In a world overrun with Olive Gardens, Salumi is an oasis.

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      Salumi
      309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

      1. Tom Armitage RE: Jazzaloha Sep 5, 2010 07:39 AM

        I’m not going to be as hard on you as Neecies (and I don’t hold it against you that you and I disagree about the best croissant in Seattle), except to say that it’s not surprising that Salumi wouldn’t be on your must-try list if you’re “not a big salami-cured meats type of person.” But, given that, why did you order the cold-meat sampler instead of the hot-meat sampler? Armandino’s meatballs, for instance, are deservedly legendary. Back on the subject of salumi, I’m assuming that comparing Armandino’s salumi to, say, that of Fra’ Mani or Creminelli wouldn’t be high on your list. If you aren’t really “into” salumi, why would it be? I give you big points, however, for your honesty about your food interests, likes and dislikes, and tempering your comments in light of that.

        1. m
          mr.chorizo RE: Jazzaloha Sep 5, 2010 10:56 AM

          Yea.
          Good people. Good food. Yes the line is long so don't expect fast service. The hot and cold sandwiches are great, the salumi is top notch and they also sell guanciale (a total bonus).

          1. landguy RE: Jazzaloha Sep 5, 2010 04:07 PM

            When it comes to sandwiches they are overrated in my opinion especially considering you can buy their salumi product at least in any grocery store around here these days. DeLaurenti has their salumi plus a nice selection of other vendors salumis and prosciuttos, that would be my choice if I was making my own sandwich. The staff there has always been friendly when we've gone but I have definitely noticed the line has become outrageously long. I am an impatient former New Yorker and that just won't due! Baguette Box makes tastier sandwiches and no one seems to talk them up. In fact they have one that's made with Salumi's salumi.

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            Baguette Box
            1203 Pine St, Seattle, WA 98101

            1. j
              Jazzaloha RE: Jazzaloha Sep 8, 2010 11:08 AM

              Let me clarify a few things. When I say I'm not a "big salami/cured meats type of person," I meant that I haven't eaten salami/cured meats from a lot of different places--NOT that I don't like salami/cured meats. Anyway, I mentioned this because I wanted readers to know that I haven't tried a salami from a lot of different places, so maybe I couldn't really appreciate its quality. (On the other hand, if the salami was really great, I don't think I needed a wide experience of eating salami to appreciate it.)

              The reason we chose the cold platter was because we figured it was what they were known for. Had I known Salumi's meatballs were famous, I would have definitely got that because I love meatballs, especially in a sandwich. Indeed, I almost ordered that, but since we were planning to eat at a few more places for lunch, I didn't want to eat too much.

              As for the communal table, I really like that sort of thing, but I was a bit too cramped back there. I had to worry about elbowing the two people next to me, and I felt a little wedged in by the wall. (I preferred the communal table at a place like La Carta de Oaxaca, for example.) I think readers should know that it's not very spacious back there. (The table can fit about ten people.)

              I like Leper's post, and while all the things he/she wrote are appealing, my reaction is based mainly on my experience of eating the three dishes we ordered. As I mentioned, there could be other items that would make me love this place. But just based on this limited experience, I was a little disappointed.

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              Salumi
              309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

              2 Replies
              1. re: Jazzaloha
                s
                smellymel RE: Jazzaloha Mar 24, 2011 02:26 PM

                i live in seattle. i know Salumni's is going to be packed from 11-2. so i go after that. if salami isnt your thing, than its probably not the right restaurant for you.

                ive taken many out of town guests that really care about good food and if we get there during the rush, we wait in line and take our sandwiches to a park or someplace nice. the place rules! best cured meats pretty much anywhere i have ever eaten...

                1. re: smellymel
                  n
                  not the bad Steve RE: smellymel Mar 27, 2011 09:09 AM

                  Salami isn't my thing, but I still love Salumi. Cold sandwiches with lamb proscuitto, pork proscuitto, coppa, and culatello are all great. For hot sandwiches, porchetta, oxtail, and pork cheeks all rule. Meatballs are fine.

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                  Salumi
                  309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

              2. p
                pusherman RE: Jazzaloha Sep 8, 2010 04:55 PM

                I think Salumi is pretty awesome, but I also think it is sad and ironic that it is actually almost impossible for most Seattleites to go there with any frequency -- thanks to the long line-up, you have to leave 2 hours minimum for the experience, and unless maybe you work around the corner, that's almost impossible if you work full time. So my experience is that the crowd is mostly tourists and visitors and the occasional special occasion lunch group. Which makes me sad.

                I've heard rumors you can show up right before close and there's no line and you can get whatever's leftover as take-away, but I've never tried it.

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                Salumi
                309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

                3 Replies
                1. re: pusherman
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                  equinoise RE: pusherman Sep 8, 2010 04:59 PM

                  I think the imposition of the line is bit overstated. In fact, I think the rumors surrounding it and the warnings to go only at 11AM have almost created an inversion effect--I've showed up on a few occaisions right around noon or 12:30 and seen only a handful of people there. Of course, on other days the line has been 40 people deep.

                  I've heard there is a live web-cam of the line...true?

                  1. re: pusherman
                    b
                    Bax RE: pusherman Sep 8, 2010 05:51 PM

                    If you call in a take-out order, does that mean you get to skip the line and just go straight to the cashier to pay? I picked up a take-out menu the one time I went, but haven't tried it. Seems like if you CAN, that might be the best solution for residents (of course, getting your hands on a take-out menu --or just knowing what you want -- is the first necessary step because there's no menu online).

                    1. re: pusherman
                      MsMaryMc RE: pusherman Sep 9, 2010 08:12 PM

                      When I have a weekday off, I try to go around 3 pm. You can usually park at a meter right across the street then, and there's little or no line. I'd go to considerably more trouble for one of their culatello sandwiches, but at that time of day, it's no problem.

                    2. b
                      bourbongal RE: Jazzaloha Sep 8, 2010 08:50 PM

                      Unqualified yea. I used to work around the corner and I went there quite often and found that going right at 11 almost always worked to get carry out in a reasonable time. If you want to eat at the communal tables, that's a different story - save that for a day when you have the afternoon off and can be patient and drink wine. Their cured meats are as good as it gets and the meatball sandwich is divine. If they happen to have cannoli, that is really worth a little wait time.

                      1. eight_inch_pestle RE: Jazzaloha Sep 9, 2010 08:27 AM

                        So overrated. Meats are very good. Sandwiches far too bready and very bland. Very much about the hype and the limited hours and the names of the people behind it. I laughed out loud when I saw some program with Anthony Bourdain moaning over a sandwich like it was the best thing he'd ever eaten. The same sammy that made me say, "meh." Must be sweet to have AB as a friend of the family. Or maybe all the booze and cigs have finally killed his palate.

                        Stop by before closing, grab a meat platter, and enjoy at home. Or, if you like the basics, just walk or bike to your nearby Metropolitan Market and grab some Salumi whenever you want, with no wait and no obnoxious counter folk.

                        Yes, if the choices are Olive Garden or Salumi, go to Salumi. But what a false and frankly ridiculous pair of choices. The world may be overrun with Olive Gardens, but there's not a single branch in Seattle. There are a lot of folk who want to wax poetic about Salumi because of the people and the process, but there's no "there there" in the sandwiches. Every out-of-town foodie I've taken---many who have (gasp!) traveled extensively in Italy---has been miserably disappointed.

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                        Metropolitan Market
                        1908 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA

                        Salumi
                        309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

                        Olive Garden
                        4221 196th St SW, Lynnwood, WA 98036

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: eight_inch_pestle
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                          pusherman RE: eight_inch_pestle Sep 9, 2010 03:16 PM

                          Youch! FWIW, I actually preferred the Baguette Box salumi sandwich to the ones at the real Salumni, but it's been like a year since they actually had this sandwich available.

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                          Baguette Box
                          1203 Pine St, Seattle, WA 98101

                          1. re: pusherman
                            eight_inch_pestle RE: pusherman Sep 9, 2010 04:51 PM

                            Yeah, that reads a little rougher than intended. I'm not saying I wouldn't go regularly if I lived or worked within walking distance, just that the national rep is undeserved, IMHO.

                            To answer the OP's question, I would say "nay" to making a special trip, but "yea" if you're in Pioneer Square or the Stadium District/SoDo anyway, have some time to kill, and have already checked the ID off your list. Also "yea" if you're staying somewhere with a fridge---a meat tray with a hunk or two of good cheese would make a killer late-night snack for a tourist coming home from a night out and about.

                            1. re: eight_inch_pestle
                              m
                              mrnelso RE: eight_inch_pestle Sep 9, 2010 06:52 PM

                              and while you are stocking for this late night picnic, check PFI, a few blocks from Salumi.

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                              Salumi
                              309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

                        2. c oliver RE: Jazzaloha Mar 5, 2011 04:42 PM

                          We're in Seattle fora few days. Are the lines still dependably long? On a weekday? Thanks.

                          11 Replies
                          1. re: c oliver
                            terrier RE: c oliver Mar 5, 2011 05:48 PM

                            Salumi is only open on weekdays - Tuesday through Friday.

                            The lines are long, but not as long at this time of year as they will be once the cruise ships return.

                            It is worth it. I strongly recommend the hot sandwiches over the cold ones. (Get a platter of the cured meats if you want to try them - they're mostly wasted in a sandwich.)

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                            Salumi
                            309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

                            1. re: c oliver
                              MsMaryMc RE: c oliver Mar 5, 2011 07:14 PM

                              If you can go late--3 pm or after (they close at 4 pm)--it's not so bad. I've walked right in, ordered, and had my food in less than five minutes.

                              1. re: MsMaryMc
                                c oliver RE: MsMaryMc Mar 5, 2011 07:44 PM

                                Thanks for the advice. Timing is (obviously) everything.

                                1. re: c oliver
                                  eight_inch_pestle RE: c oliver Mar 6, 2011 02:49 AM

                                  I hate to say it, but it's also a little overrated. You won't know how to order (who could?), no one working there will help you figure out how to order, and---let's be honest---most of that neighborhood smells like stale pee. If you're not hardened to homelessness and drug addiction in your face it's not the most pleasant block to be on. But if you do go, get a meat platter, not a sammy.

                                  Having followed you for some time, C oliver, I think you'd be happier at someplace like Matt's in the Market. Locals love it, and most tourists can't seem to find their way upstairs.

                                  1. re: eight_inch_pestle
                                    c oliver RE: eight_inch_pestle Mar 6, 2011 06:16 AM

                                    And I've followed you also and that rec sounds WAY better. Is the big (original?) Sur La Table still down there? Maybe lunch on Monday. We're heading to IKEA to check out kitchen cabinets for an upcoming remodel. Thanks, eip.

                                    1. re: c oliver
                                      eight_inch_pestle RE: c oliver Mar 6, 2011 05:16 PM

                                      Sorry for the delay, c oliver! Somehow forgot about this thread. Yes, the Sur la Table is right there. Hope you're enjoying your visit!

                                      1. re: eight_inch_pestle
                                        c oliver RE: eight_inch_pestle Mar 6, 2011 05:26 PM

                                        Oh yeah! Dim sum at Jade Garden this morning. Tomorrow will be Matt's and Ikea. And, hey, thanks for some sunshine today :)

                                2. re: MsMaryMc
                                  m
                                  mrnelso RE: MsMaryMc Mar 5, 2011 10:57 PM

                                  Go late: a great idea, if they have any food left. They often simply close when they run out of food. Alternative # 1 - swing by the shop just as they are oppening. Take a look at the kitchen specials on the sandwich board on the sidewalk, maybe excuse your way alongside the line, just to have a look at the menu board and decide what you want. Walk back put to the sidewalk and find a phone. Call them up, place your order over the phone, pick a time for you to pick it up after the lines are gone, and ask them to hold it for you. They are quite busy, so I'm sure they will be grateful if you can go call-in this order a day before.

                                  1. re: mrnelso
                                    terrier RE: mrnelso Mar 6, 2011 07:08 AM

                                    Yeah, going late has rarely paid off for me - they're almost always out of porchetta and/or meatballs by 2:30. (And forget about specials like oxtail or cheeks, those are rightly the first to go.)

                                    Calling in the order is the way to go.

                                3. re: c oliver
                                  n
                                  Neecies RE: c oliver Mar 6, 2011 06:53 AM

                                  This line isn't long at all if you're one of the first 10 in it. :) Get there early or after 1:30--let the people who are on a strict lunch schedule at work blow through.

                                  1. re: Neecies
                                    Vexorg RE: Neecies Mar 24, 2011 12:49 AM

                                    If you're on a strict lunch schedule at work, chances are Salumi isn't exactly the place to be going. in the first place.

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                                    Salumi
                                    309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

                                4. j
                                  JayDK RE: Jazzaloha Mar 11, 2011 06:38 AM

                                  No matter what little complaints one may have, the man is due great respect.

                                  1. p
                                    Psiweaver RE: Jazzaloha Mar 23, 2011 01:27 PM

                                    I think that Salumi is very good for what it is. It seems like a lot of you don't really like the vibe there, which is great because it means shorter lines for those of us who do. There really aren't very many places like Salumi in the United States. Yes it is a little cramped compared to having huge comfy chairs but its a Sandwhich shop. Their Porchetta and Meatball are great. I like the Muffo as well. The gnocchi are great when they have those. The counter people other than being somewhat impatient from time to time are generally great and friendly and as long as you treat them with respect generally return it.

                                    The salumi based sandwhiches are simple so that you can appreciate the cured meat rather than 35 other things piled onto them.

                                    I have taken probably 30 people there in the 8 months I've lived in Seattle and everyone has loved it. Its probably one of the only things that I've encountered that Seattle does on anything close to a world class level.

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                                    Salumi
                                    309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Psiweaver
                                      Pollo RE: Psiweaver Mar 27, 2011 11:08 PM

                                      When the place opened way back (6-7 years ago?) and offered it's products (i.e. Salumi) it was v. unique. By now there are many more "Salumi" provides in the US with far better products (IMHO) so the luster is gone. The sandwitch portion was never that good in the begining or now...both in terms of food and "atitude"....

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                                      Salumi
                                      309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

                                      1. re: Pollo
                                        d
                                        dagrassroots RE: Pollo Mar 27, 2011 11:12 PM

                                        If you are ordering salami sandwiches you are missing out on what Salumi, the restaurant, does well. The hot sandwiches are not small in portion. The best way to eat at salumi is to take a friend or two and order one hot meat platter, one cold meat platter and one of the specials of the day. I have not had a food experience quite like that in any part of the country.

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                                        Salumi
                                        309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

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