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Salt and Fat in Sunnyside

MarcInSunnysideGardens Mar 8, 2011 08:56 AM

New restaurant, Queens Blvd, lower 40s, south side of the street. Anyone know anything about it?

Salt & Fat
41-16 Queens Blvd, Queens, NY 11104

  1. j
    JakesSunnyside Sep 17, 2012 10:09 AM

    Been there a few times. Had a decent selection of the menu. I like the food. Seem to have copied parts of Momofuku bar.

    What bothers me about this place is the portion sizes and the "Have you been here before?" question because if you answer no, they suggest you get more. The serving sizes are just small enough to not satisfy, so you end up getting 1 1/2 of a dinner, instead of one. Spending more money, of course.

    The other thing about this place is that the service hasn't improved since it opened. At least for the three times I've been there. (last time was a few months ago). I was there the first month or so it opened and it felt like the place was being run by people with no restaurant experience. They forgot orders, brought dishes out sporadically. We waited like 10 minutes for the second plate while the people next to us arrived after we did and were served before us. Those thing really bug me. The decor is....well....lets just say it looks like a contractor 'designed' it, but this forum, I think, is about the food.

    I also can't figure out why it's so damn popular. I just can't go there on a frid or sat and wait 15 minutes for a table. Having to take a buzzer with me and spend money at the closest bar is annoying. I'll bet all the local bars love the place because it sends business their way. It's just far away enough that take out will get home cold unless I ride it back on a bike.

    Anyway, I wish there were more places like this. Now it's just overpriced Italian joints popping up.

    1. p
      Pookipichu Aug 30, 2012 08:29 AM

      I've noticed multiple price increases and changing of ingredients but it's understandable since at the supermarket, the price of everything has gone up as well. I've noticed price increases at nearly every place I eat, either that or portion size reduction (a hidden price increase) or reduction in quality of ingredients. I don't think Salt & Fat is trying to morph into an elitist place, the vibe is still very much a friendly, warm, neighborhood restaurant. What bothers me is that no one seems to be talking about how much more expensive food is becoming when they discuss inflation, since many places hide it by reducing portions. I'd rather Salt & Fat increase it's prices and maintain quality than reduce portions (which are not huge to begin with) or use inferior quality ingredients.

      Anyone noticed how the scallion pancake wrap with beef at Nan Xiang is now three pieces instead of 4, sits on a smaller plate and has more sauce and less meat than before?

      2 Replies
      1. re: Pookipichu
        queenseats Aug 30, 2012 01:46 PM

        My dining partners and I all remarked how affordable the meal was, actually, in term of quality. We ordered nearly the entire menu, plus dessert and two bottles of wine and it was about $130 per couple with tax and tip (if I recall correctly). We spent more yesterday doing the prix fixe lunch at Jean Georges, which while very good, was a less interesting and overall less satisfying meal than the one we had at S&F. Hope these aren't fighting words -- I know it's comparing apples to oranges :)

        1. re: queenseats
          pslpsl Sep 2, 2012 08:23 AM

          I went 3 months ago with friends and it was outstanding. Molecular gastronomy-influenced 80% as good as some of the places I've been for 1/3 of the price. I recommend!

      2. GoodGravy Aug 24, 2012 07:46 AM

        It took almost a year, but we finally managed to get out to Sunnyside to try this place. I should stop by next time I get my oil changed at the Jiffy Lube nearby. The menu has apparently changed a little since last year. Instead of blt buns, we had the blt salad, and instead of pork belly tacos, we had the pork belly sliders. The fried chicken and oxtail terrine continued on as usual.

        First off, popcorn popped in bacon fat. This'll kill you, but it's so good you won't mind dying.

        Then we ordered:

        BLT (Bacon, Lobster & Tomato) salad: Emphasis on the bacon! Guess this is where they get the bacon fat for the popcorn. It's a beautifully meaty salad, the best kind.

        Pork belly sliders: A slice of rich, fatty pork belly served on bao and topped w/ lightly pickled cucumber to offset the richness. Impossible. It's too much richness to be cut, but I could be wrong. I'll need to order it a few more times to make sure.

        Oxtail terrine: We were split on this from, "it's great" to "it didn't 'wow' me".

        Pappardelle w/ mushrooms, asparagus and a yolky, runny egg. Even when it's healthy, it's not. But it's probably the healthiest thing we ate and it was good.

        Yellowtail tartare. I lied, this is probably the healthiest thing we ate. It was also refreshing, tasty and mixed soft and crunchy textures.

        Crispy trotter, the meat is cleaned off the bone, formed into a patty, breaded, deep fried and topped w/ what looked like a softly boiled egg (might've been poached very neatly). Richness on top of richness and very good.

        Fried chicken was four pieces of plump, moist, tender and flavorful chicken. The included sauce is just a bonus, but unnecessary. This is not a tasteless bird. The pickled daikon helps clean your palate if you remember to eat it.

        Rice crispy treats w/ marshmallow ice cream. It's as good as it sounds.

        2 Replies
        1. re: GoodGravy
          queenseats Aug 24, 2012 10:07 AM

          Finally tried Salt and Fat last night after being on "the list" too long. It was an amazing meal, start to finish. We basically ordered nearly the entire menu (minus the more entree-type dishes toward the bottom of the menu and a couple other dishes we weren't so excited about). Our waiter thought we might be overly ambitious (I think we ordered 13 plates), as we were a party of four, but the amount was actually just perfect. We kept gushing throughout the meal, how fabulous each dish was, definitely exceeding all expectations. The salads were high points, particularly the BLT salad as described above. Also enjoyed the lightness of the tartare. We loved the shaved foie gras, a sweet decadence with the carmelized bacon brittle. I'm not a fried chicken fan but everyone else loved this. We also tried both desserts -- the rice crispy treats with marshmallow ice cream and a more citrusy lychee panna cotta with yuzu buttermilk ice cream. The pace of the meal was perfect. We also enjoyed a well priced Tempranillo. Excellent value for food of this quality.

          1. re: queenseats
            GoodGravy Aug 24, 2012 10:49 AM

            We were there last night too. There was only 3 of us so we couldn't order everything that caught our eye, but I'm sure we'll be back after our cholesterol levels drop back to normal.

        2. x
          xmoex123 Aug 7, 2011 10:25 PM

          wow, i definitely have to give this place a visit

          1. d
            donovt Aug 3, 2011 07:37 PM

            Just got back from dinner. My wife and I split the crack & cheese, BLT buns, pork belly tacos and oxtail terrine. I though the crack was good, but a little one note. The BLT buns were amazing..delicious braised bacon and a nice spicy mayo on a soft tasty bun. The pork belly tacos were awesome. I wouldn't think I'd want a hard shell, but it worked. I dont know what to say about the oxtail other than rich fatty deliciousness.

            1. m
              micheal Jul 25, 2011 01:21 PM

              They're not wasting time in jacking up the prices - eg., the branzino (which all the times I've had is smallish} has gone from $15 to $18!

              6 Replies
              1. re: micheal
                changha Jul 25, 2011 05:24 PM

                Hey Michael, the prices of branzino went up by over $2/lb. due to whatever is going on in Greece. Therefore I needed to make adjustments. The price will come down as soon as the price of branzino drop also. I am also looking to substitute the branzino for a cheaper fish which is just as tasty so I can still keep providing the neighborhood with affordable eats. Sorry the inconvenience.

                " Cheap seafood is not fresh, fresh seafood is not cheap"

                1. re: changha
                  EricMM Jul 26, 2011 08:04 AM

                  Why not use local black seabass? It won't be cheaper, but its a local, wild fish that is one of the best tasting in the area. Porgies are much cheaper, and are also local and abundant, and extremely fresh, unfortunately very underrated.

                  1. re: EricMM
                    changha Jul 26, 2011 08:14 AM

                    Yea i actually brought in some porgy last week to test out the recipe. They are local and great tasting. Striped bass season is in full swing also which will help drive prices down. I will be changing it this week.

                    1. re: changha
                      mgmcewen Jul 26, 2011 08:21 AM

                      I guess that's the most disappointing thing about Salt & Fat- few local ingredients. Striped bass would be awesome. I see they are advertising Creekstone Farms on their menu, but while they don't do the worst factory farmed practices, the animals are fed regular grain and shipped in from the midwest. I'd like to see them using Hardwick farms or another local operaton. I'd also like to see Niman Ranch pork or another non-confinement pork on the menu. It tastes much better. Switching the meat dishes more often would allow the restaurant to take better advantage of local meat since they could buy cheaper whole animals, like Great Northern Spy Co does.

                      Salt & Fat
                      41-16 Queens Blvd, Queens, NY 11104

                  2. re: changha
                    micheal Aug 1, 2011 11:16 PM

                    Thanks. the branzino is really a masterpiece for delicious.

                    Man, the fried chicken is also revolutionary good. Not just the crusted portion but somehow deep the flavor and delight is near magical. A triumph.

                    Just wanted to balance the $$ issue with the fine dining experience!

                    1. re: changha
                      micheal Sep 28, 2011 10:34 PM

                      The fried chicken is really outstanding,delicious-I have doubts if there is anything better in NYC. But the dressing is really the icing on the cake - please post the famous dressing recipe.
                      I PROMISE we'll still dine at least as often as before!

                      Salt & Fat
                      41-16 Queens Blvd, Queens, NY 11104

                  3. biondanonima Jul 23, 2011 06:06 PM

                    My husband and I ate here tonight - the place was packed, but service was still very attentive. We were able to get in with no wait because we were only two, but there were a lot of larger parties waiting when we arrived (at 7) and even more when we left at 8:30. I'm not sure what used to be in this space but I really like the decor here - I thought it was very clean looking and inviting.

                    Anyway, as for the food, we enjoyed the bacon fat popcorn, then split the pork belly tacos, scallops, oxtail terrine, crack n cheese and fried chicken. All good, but the pork belly and oxtail were real standouts. The combination of the fatty pork with the crispy taco shell and the sweet/spicy pickled jalapenos was totally delicious. The oxtail came on a bed of a really awesome caramelized onion puree with a generous portion of sauteed wild mushrooms, and was really tender and crispy. We also loved the crack and cheese - it's insanely rich, though. They basically take mashed potatoes and cut them into nuggets the size of your average gnocchi (they're really NOT gnocchi, though), then fry them till crispy and smother them in cheesy bechamel (mornay) sauce and bacon.

                    The chicken and scallops were also good but I probably wouldn't order them again. The chicken was nicely seasoned, crispy and juicy, but nothing particularly special. I liked the dipping sauce, but the watermelon rind "pickle" just tasted like watermelon rind, and the plate as a whole didn't really work. The scallops (3 smallish) came on a tasty corn salsa with a carrot puree, which was a little too sweet on its own. It did complement the scallops nicely, though, especially if you picked up a salty fried caper with each bite.

                    I asked our server how many dishes we'd want to order, and she helpfully pointed out which selections were smaller/larger and suggested at least two per person of the smaller plates (the fried chicken is "entree" size, as are the whole fish and hanger steak). She was a skinny thing, though! We are fairly hearty eaters and felt that the amount we ordered was just about right for us. We will definitely go back to try some of the other things we saw coming out of the kitchen, including the sliders, pork trotter, chili shrimp, pappardelle and mussels. A GREAT addition to the neighborhood!

                    Salt & Fat
                    41-16 Queens Blvd, Queens, NY 11104

                    1. v
                      versicle Mar 29, 2011 07:10 PM

                      We ate there tonight. Between my husband and me, we split four dishes: the yellowtail with speck, the pulled pork sliders, the pork belly tacos, and the "crack" and cheese. It was fun and the food was good, though it felt more like bar food than the kind of place you'd go back to again and again for dinner.

                      I agree with the other poster that the speck was more like prosciutto. The "crack" and cheese was a dish of fried potato gnocchi. Turns out frying potato gnocchi basically turns them into tater tots. What they call a bechamel sauce is actually cheese melted, maybe in a white sauce. Wickedly good, but not what I expected. The pork sliders were good, if a little sweet for my taste. Probably the pork belly tacos were the best thing we had. There was a pleasing, unusual taste combination between the crispy corn taco, the fatty pork, and the vinegary vegetables (not sure it was actually kimchi tonight).

                      There were some timing issues. We were sitting near the entrance to the kitchen and it seemed like the kitchen was sending out dishes in waves--like several of the fried gnocchi, and then several of the sliders. Our final dish came out a good five minutes or more after we'd finished the other three and it came out with a handful of other yellowtail dishes.

                      1. m
                        mgmcewen Mar 26, 2011 08:19 AM

                        Ate there last night on opening night. We ate mostly the seafood dishes. The best of the lot was the branzino, which had wonderful crispy skin and was cooked in bacon fat. The yellowtail and lobster salads were good, but they tasted fairly similar. The "speck" in the yellowtail salad could have been heartier too, it seemed much more like prosciutto. The scallops were browned perfectly and the sauce of capers and squash was innovative and delicious. One of the highlights of the meal was the dessert. The yuzu-buttermlk sorbet and lychee panna cotta were both sumptuous and the flavors worked really well together. Since I live nearby I'm excited about trying more of the meat dishes this week. I liked that you got bacon popcorn instead of bread. The restaurant overall reminded me very much of Traif in Williamsburg, another favorite of mine. Decor is a little odd though...kind of like a Greek restaurant. I wonder how much is left over from the previous restaurant?

                        229 S 4th St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

                        Salt & Fat
                        41-16 Queens Blvd, Queens, NY 11104

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: mgmcewen
                          MarcInSunnysideGardens Mar 26, 2011 02:00 PM

                          Thanks, was gonna ask about the decor, as it looked sort of off in the pic I saw.

                          1. re: MarcInSunnysideGardens
                            mgmcewen Mar 26, 2011 02:17 PM

                            yep, it's leftover from the previous restaurant as I suspected

                            1. re: mgmcewen
                              Widmark Mar 29, 2011 02:13 PM

                              I haven't been to Salt and Fat, but the prior restaurant's interior was bizarre. All shiny black tiles.

                        2. c
                          changha Mar 22, 2011 06:42 PM

                          Salt & Fat is opening to the public on friday night for dinner service. Everyone come on by!

                          Salt & Fat
                          41-16 Queens Blvd, Queens, NY 11104

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: changha
                            ZenFoodist Mar 24, 2011 06:47 AM

                            There was a little write up in this week's Time Out New York...Looks good. Any place that serves bacon poped pop corn in lieu of a breadbasket is my kind of place!

                          2. d
                            donovt Mar 8, 2011 09:21 AM

                            Are they open yet? This is the only info I've found:


                            2 Replies
                            1. re: donovt
                              DrBey2003 Mar 8, 2011 09:49 AM

                              Not open yet...I pass by it every day.

                              1. re: donovt
                                mgmcewen Mar 22, 2011 05:28 PM

                                Passed by this evening and peaked behind paper. Tables were set. Saw chef talking to a cook. People working in the kitchen...hmmm


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