Jill Vedaa is no stranger to the hustle and bustle of the restaurant industry, having worked at her first restaurant when she was a 19-year-old Cleveland State student. Nearly five years ago, Vedaa’s passion for food and the restaurant business turned into a reality when she opened Salt, a globally inspired small plate restaurant, along with co-owner Jessica Parkison. Every 10 weeks, Salt launches a new menu, and on June 24, Salt introduced Menu 24, which includes a variety of fresh and delicious vegetables, fish, meat, cocktails and desserts.
Many of Salt’s menu items are inspired by Vedaa’s travels to different parts of the world or what ingredients are available in season. Menu 24 was mainly inspired by the summertime, with the vision of light, summery dishes and groups of people sharing plates of food outside on the patio.
“I get bored very easily,” Vedaa says. “I always want to push myself to be better. I piggyback on the fact that [the menu] is hyper-seasonal, and that we get some really awesome produce here. I try to let that be my guide.”
Try the rabbit sausage dish ($13), which was brainstormed by one of Vedaa’s cooks. He had the idea of using the loin, and then taking the belly flap and using it as the casing. The sausage is then made with the hind legs and then the dish is wrapped to create a hearty, savory flavor.
“The dish includes baby kale, which is dressed with blackberries and a verjus vinaigrette,” Vedaa says. “The sausage is then sliced and seared on both sides and then we finish the dish with toasted hazelnuts.”
The beef liver dish ($16) was inspired by Vedaa’s mother, who made the dish for her growing up. The dish features sherry braised miatake mushrooms, lardon (a small strip of fatty bacon or pork fat used to flavor food) and griddled onion for a roasted, caramelized flavor.
“I soak the beef liver in milk for roughly a day, day-and-a-half, and then soak it in flour, and pan-sear it,” Vedaa says. “I then add the miatake, and I deglaze everything with a little bit of sherry vinegar and sherry wine, and then mount it with butter. It's just like this really rich, childhood memory flavor.”
For dessert, Vedaa recommends the grilled brioche bread pudding with salted chocolate ganache and whipped creme fraiche ($8). Vedaa wanted to create a chocolate bread dessert and was nervous about featuring a warm dessert menu item in the summertime; however, the dish is their most popular dessert option.
“It’s not a super-sweet dessert,” Vedaa says. “I use super dark chocolate for the ganache with just a little bit of honey and cream. The bread pudding itself has very little sugar so it's very light. [The dessert] has a crunchiness because of the grill and has saltiness and sweetness with the chocolate and it just all works together.”
Vedaa notes that the summertime is usually no their most popular time of business, but due to COVID-19 restrictions lifting, more and more people are seeking out new and exciting food options. She says that every menu is a reflection of the restaurant and their desire to keep creating new and unique dishes.
“We're not reinventing ourselves every time,” Vedaa says. “[Our menu is about] remaining consistent and that is what charges us.”
When You Go: 17625 Detroit Ave., 216-221-4866, Lakewood, saltcleveland.com