Roasted Coalho Cheese, Green Grapes, Sugar Cane Caramel
Wild Boar Ragu, Manioc Gnocchi, Butter, Arugula
Guava Soufflé, Cream Cheese
French Toast, Jack Daniel’s Custard, Pineapple Compote
From television time to martial arts and heavy metal singing to a recent #metoo scandal it seems hard to imagine Chef Henrique Fogaça has time to run SAL Gastronomia, but on Thursday afternoon the MasterChef judge’s Rio de Janeiro outpost proved a popular destination for lunch among suits as well as those in T-shirts.
Locate inside Shopping Village Mall, an upscale expanse located in the Barra da Tijuca neighborhood, it is above stores including Louis Vuitton and Gucci that guests will find a collection of Restaurants with SAL at its center, the interior featuring an open kitchen and artistic flourishes while the more popular “patio” looks out on passers-by and the entrance to a nearby movie theater.
One of three locations, the other two in São Paulo, it is beginning at noon that guests are greeted at the podium branded with skull-and-cross-utensils, service of the formal yet pleasant variety and English-fluent, but at times a bit pushy as relates to recommendations.
Incorporating Amazonian Ingredients and classic technique into a wide variety of plates, several featured in Fogaça book “A Hardcore Chef” it was declining SAL’s Couvert that four plates were ordered, Staffs’ urging that this was “too much” hardly accurate as the Appetizer consisted of three small slices of Cheese griddled and paired with halved-Grapes plus Sugar Cane Syrup.
Serving a surprising amount of Wine and Spirits during Lunch-hour, a man who seemed to be the General Manager inquiring thrice if guests would like something besides Water, it was shortly after Cheese was finished that a sizable plate of Gnocchi was presented, the dish embodying Chef Fogaça’s informal yet provocative approach and each Dumpling feather-light but buttery atop complex Wild Boar Ragu.
Told to save room for Dessert, at least four items appealing and two requested even though the server *insisted* one would be enough, suffice it to say not a single bite went unfinished between crispy French Toast bathed in Whiskey Custard beneath Pineapple and a dainty cloud of Guava with streaks of Jam that paired nicely to Whipped Cream Cheese a la Brazil’s famous Romeu e Julieta.