First Look: Salty Sow

Manor Road continues its foodie transformation with the addition of Salty Sow. Housed in the former home of Red House Pizza, the swine & wine themed restaurant menu focuses on Southern-inspired small plates, ‘things in a jar’, and larger entrees. The newly revamped space further capitalizes on the outdoor patio area while with an interior that captures a contemporary yet casual farmhouse vibe.


Charcuterie & Cheese Plate

We started with the charcuterie and cheese plate, which represented the restaurant’s meat focus well. The plate featured several daily selections of charcuterie ranging from traditional to out-of-the-box. As a person who loves cheese over charcuterie, personal preference would love to see more of a cheese to meat balance on the plate. If you are someone who is more ‘in like’ than ‘in love’ with charcuterie, I would recommend glancing elsewhere on the menu. Salty Sow’s J.L.T was a delicious play on the classic BLT, thanks to the winning combination of sweet brioche, salty bacon, and fried egg. The sausage dumplings were a perfect marriage of Asian fried dumplings and an Italian calzone. Three wontons were stuffed with sausage, mozzarella, and peppers and fried and served with a very nice marinara sauce. Less successful was a roasted pork shoulder entrée that was almost too salty to eat, especially in the summer heat.

While the restaurant touts its ‘nose to tail’ focus, don’t underestimate the meat-free and seafood dishes by any means. Our group was clearly enamored with the Brussels sprouts side dish as each batch ordered disappeared minutes after being placed on the table. A wild rice and cauliflower gratin was full of creamy, comforting flavor. Should one ever arrive, it is the ideal dish for a cool fall day. Another fan favorite was the beet, pistachio, and goat cheese salad. Though one could not ask for more deliciously sweet heirloom tomatoes in the marinated tomato salad, the dish’s small portion of mozzarella was disappointing. Similarly, an arugula salad underwhelmed as it lacked enough parmesan or citrus to make its simplicity shine. However, we’d be hard pressed to find any wrong with the night’s fish special. The halibut special featured perfectly cooked tender halibut was topped with a light tomato relish. It was cooked with salty, savory porchetta which gave the dish a nice depth. The chili rubbed tuna, though presented beautifully, was not as much of a crowd pleaser, however.

The menu is very well-priced, with most dishes $15 and under. Along with an extensive wine list, Salty Sow offers a small assortment of local beers and swine-inspired signature craft cocktails such as the ‘Miss Piggy’ and ‘Hogwash’. Cocktails are priced at the fairly standard rate of $8, but beer ($6) and wine by the glass (most over $10) are a bit higher. If drinking wine, order by the bottle as the list offers plenty of very reasonable options priced in low to mid $30s. Service was a bit chaotic on this particular visit, though much of that can be pinned to several large groups overwhelming the patio crew. By all accounts, this has not been the case on other occasions. Having just opened, Salty Sow is a promising restaurant well on its way to being great.

Salty Sow. 1917 Manor Road, Austin, Texas, 78722. 512.391.2337.

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