Jill Vedaa is intimidated by large plates of food. The James Beard-nominated chef, who co-owns Salt, says she’s the kind of diner who orders a few appetizers rather than one large entree. “When I get a huge plate in front of me, I’m already defeated,” the Lakewood resident laughs. “I’m like, I’m not going to be able to eat all that!”
At Salt, where the menu is broken down into vegetable, fish and meat sections, Vedaa creates composed small plates that elevate their key ingredient. The concept was inspired by State Bird Provisions, a San Francisco restaurant that serves its food dim sum-style off tableside carts.
“You have a couple bites, you share it, and you order more,” Vedaa says.
And the sharing is key. Vedaa wants diners at the intimate-yet-casual spot to put away their phones and really connect with fellow diners and the meal they’re enjoying together.
That’s easy to do when the food is as interesting as hers. Salt’s menu changes every 10 weeks — “hyper-seasonal,” Vedaa calls it — so you never know what you’ll find. This spring, she’s especially excited about her morel and black trumpet wonton ($12) with a fava bean puree, and her chilled spring pea and coconut milk soup ($10) drizzled with truffle oil.
One of Salt’s standbys, though, is the chicken liver pate ($10), garnished with toasted rye and local pickles, which stays on the menu year-round because it’s Vedaa’s mother Evelyn’s favorite dish. “I like making sure that my mom has it any time she wants it,” she says.
17625 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, 216-221-4866, saltcleveland.com
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