It’s easy to get stuck in a comfortable rut if you’re a regular at the still stellar 13-year-old Salumi. The skillfully assembled sandwiches are, after all, the best kind of flavor bomb: paper-thin slices of perfectly spiced charcuterie exploding with cured porky goodness. But, just for fun, let’s go fishing for the under-the-radar dishes at this landmark Pioneer Square weekday lunch spot, which was opened in 1999 by Armandino Batali (yes, Mario’s dad). Armo’s daughter, Gina, and her husband, Brian D’Amato, have been owners for a decade now, dramatically expanding the wholesale side of the business and introducing newer items such as the orange-cardamom salami in a trickle, not a torrent. “We’re kind of boring,” she says.
Uh, only if “boring” prompts diners to groan with delight as they tuck into the grilled cotto and oh-so-rich porchetta on the oft-overlooked “hot meat plate,” or spoon a blissful bite of the ever-changing lineup of soups made from scratch by Nancy Karis, a longtime member of the seasoned kitchen crew.
On some Tuesdays, mama Marilyn Batali cooks up incredibly tender, handmade gnocchi bathed in pork ragu or other sauce of the day. You might even catch her making them in the space by the front window, and spot Armo, who’s now retired but still very hands on.
Can’t get past waiting in the long (yet steadily moving) line? Phone in an order for a cold sammie (make mine the mole with mozzarella) the day before and you can skip straight to the cash register. Or, book the private dining room for lunch, Wednesdays or Thursdays only, for a special multicourse meal for as many as 10 people, and let chef Bryan Davis spoil your party rotten.
Lunch, Tue.–Fri., 11 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Pioneer Square, 309 Third Ave. S; 206.621.8772; salumicuredmeats.com $