Jill Vedaa was nervous about opening her Lakewood bistro, Salt, in 2016. Would her small plates approach work? “In the Midwest, people are used to having a lot of food in front of them,” she says.
The gamble paid off — Vedaa was nominated as a semifinalist for a 2018 James Beard Award. Her preparations are militantly simple, with high-profile flavors and textures that challenge us to think about taste and technique over portion size.And with calling-card ingredients such as duck, scallops, swordfish and radicchio, we’re open to new experiences.
“It’s something different that people don’t have a chance to eat on a daily basis,” Vedaa says. The duck leg confit ($13), notable for its super-crispy skin, comes served with a flat-leaf parsley salad topped with pickled red onion, while the sweet soy-dashed swordfish ($12)rivals a hunk of red meat and fits well on top of sweet potatoes and bok choy kimchi.
So bring friends and share — there’s no better way to sample Salt’s menu, which changes about every 10 weeks and keeps with Vedaa’s ethos of shaking up Cleveland’s way of dining.
“Every day I see chefs just pushing the envelope and doing different things,” Vedaa says. “That’s our job in Cleveland — to try this stuff and make this scene viable.”
Vedaa elevates something as basic as hearts of palm and artichokes ($12) into an earthy, satisfying dish with a black garlic Caesar dressing and herb crumbs.17625 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, 216-221-4866, saltcleveland.com