Salt and Cleaver: The (Hot) Dog with a Bite Bigger Than Its Bark

Salt and Cleaver: The (Hot) Dog with a Bite Bigger Than Its Bark

 

Location: 3805 5th Ave. San Diego, CA 92103

Hours of operation: 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.

Price: ($$)

Overall rating: (3.5/5)

Serving a wide variety of cuisine is no easy feat, but singling out and mastering a certain food can be nearly impossible. At Salt and Cleaver, no such culinary limitation exists. This secluded eatery, located in the eccentric Hillcrest neighborhood, showcases the otherwise ordinary sausage link with an urban flair that reflects its surroundings. Settled in a unique and diverse community that has everything from record stores to vintage clothing shops to antique bookstores to local cafes, Salt and Cleaver is yet another artisanal addition that is as diverse as the other businesses in its district.From hot dogs to sandwiches to flatbreads and appetizers, Salt and Cleaver has successfully managed to manipulate the sausage without losing any of its original flavor.

This restaurant is reminiscent of a renovated garage-turned-hipster gastro-pub complete with brick walls and adorned with succulents and unconventional art. Upon entering, you’re instantly greeted by a jack-of-all-trades bartender, waiter and comedian who treats you more like a friend than a patron. Well known for its industrial and communal vibe, Salt and Cleaver is probably not the best atmosphere for a quiet night out, but if you like to travel in a pack and are hunting down the perfect place for Sunday night football, this is the place for you.

The food, which seems rustic and simple, is artfully crafted with complex flavors that will satisfy any appetite. To get the meatiest experience, try the sausage board, which features four different bratwursts that come with correlating mustards to complement and enhance each bite. If you’re craving a more adventurous sausage, try one of the many hot dogs that range from the classic smoked bratwurst to the ultimate San Diegan carne asada dog. If you want the truly Americana dining experience, pair your meat with potatoes. At Salt and Cleaver, the chef presents an array of French fries, including the Red Eye Poutine-crisp fries which are perfectly balanced with a bourbon-based gravy and topped with a copious amount of cheddar.

Feeling guilty from the trifecta of sausage, potatoes and cheese? You can always cleanse your palate with refreshing cucumber chips, balsamic brussel sprouts or steamed kale. If that doesn’t make you feel guilty enough, try a few bites of the decadent macaroni and cheese or the mason jar cornbread paired with juicy pulled pork to eliminate any innocence from your eating experience.

But keep in mind that no side dish will ever distract you from the real reason you came here — to taste the perfectly seasoned, flavorful and succulent sausage. Not made for people with a weak stomach, Salt and Cleaver’s food leans toward the heavier side and will fill you up for days to come, but it is delicious.As simple as the menu may seem, don’t be fooled — the food does not fall short. Don’t be surprised when you’ve cleaned off your plate in 10 minutes and are begging for more. Salt and Cleaver is truly a gem for any connoisseur.

 

 

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