By: Taylor Perry ’14
We set out to find the perfect break to the typical “Trinity Restaurant Italian” food that we had been used to as our new social policy demanded a change in scenery. With that in mind, we ended up at Salute, a posh young place serving up a twist on conventional Italian cooking. Located in downtown Hartford, Salute offers a change to the boring and mundane pasta with marinara.
Upon arriving we were kindly shown a table by very friendly staff. The bar was nearly filled, which was impressive for a Wednesday night. Advertised as “Tuscan” colors, the room was filled with the typical trendy patterns and texture that a rising Italian restaurant would have. The underwhelming décor seemed imitative with its hanging light pendants reminiscent of a frozen yogurt chain. These fixtures provided almost too much light during the dinner hour. The restaurant was unusually divided, with the bar sandwiched between the two dining areas. There was an extra room in the back that seemed better suited for larger groups.
We began our meal with the Bruschetta Tricolore. The familiar dish was given a slight twist complete with broccoli rabe, chicken, garlic, roasted tomato sauce and tomato tapenade on a large piece of toasted bread. The new additions of the chicken and broccoli added a unique texture that was deliciously complemented by the tomatoes and garlic. The appetizer went fast and we all decided to move onto the main course.
This happened to be pasta, as a third of the entrees we ordered were pasta dishes. The pastas ranged from the simple Pomodoro with tomatoes and cheese to the Giobatto with chicken, veal, sausage, and fennel, mushrooms over egg fettuccine. The pasta tasted fresh and cooked perfectly al dente. The tomatoes were complemented with the parmesan cheese sauce. The Pasta a la Vodka was given a new twist with the added feta cheese. All the pastas were cooked well with a wide range of delicious sauces. I also sampled their 6-ounce filet mignon from the grill section of the menu. The menu had an array of meats and cuts as well as seafood including diver scallops, lobster tail, pork tenderloin, short ribs, Atlantic salmon, and tuna. The filet was served in a wild mushroom cream sauce and a choice side of potatoes cooked to your liking. The meat was seasoned and cooked nicely, with the tasty mushroom cream sauce complementing the meat’s flavors. However, the beef was not as good as the steakhouse ideal that the dish was attempting to convey. The beef may have needed to be more tender or of higher quality for the meal to be amazingly delicious. The potatoes au gratin were excellent and also went perfectly with the mushroom cream sauce.
I see a bright future for Salute. Their new ideas towards Italian cooking are both enlightening and reassuring. However, they are not quite there yet. I believe that Salute will grow to be one of the most sought after reservations around with higher quality ingredients and a more genuine décor. All in all, with prices similar to Trinity Restaurant I recommend all the Italian food lovers out there to opt for Salute’s classy, delicious meals over the typical Trin Rest Valentine’s Day affair!