Tongue in cheek, here is a restaurant that regards food as fun, menu design as concept driven and meat a must. Salut is a place for lovers of steak and seafood and vegetarians are laughable pathetic fools… or is it the meat eaters? At Salut, diners receive their check in the folds of a biographical pamphlet sporting the photo of a beautiful French woman supposedly named, Jacqueline Demarchelier. Inside the portfolio is a short story of her life. It reads:
Professor of Agropolitics, University of Paris
October 9, 1978 – July 6, 2006
One of France’s leading Marxist vegans, Prof. Jacqueline Demarchelier contended that eating meat was unnatural and unhealthy, and she decided to raise awareness by going on a 30-day, all-steak diet. “Don’t worry;” she told supporters. “I’ll be medically monitored to prevent me from dying.”
Yet the diet didn’t kill her; in fact, within weeks Jacqueline had dropped 20 kilos, gone up two bra sizes, and had developed such lustrous, full-bodied hair that she was asked to appear in a shampoo commercial.
“#%*@ vegans” was the last thing she said before moving to Barcelona with a bullfighter she had met in a butcher shop. Almost overnight Jacqueline learned Castillian, Basque and Catalan – and, as spokesperson for the Spanish Beef Council, she put her language skills to lucrative use.
Until the morning of July 6, 2006, when Jacqueline Demarchelier was trampled in Pomplona’s Running of the Bulls.
Phil Roberts and his staff at Parasole Restaurant Holdings, Inc. have quite the sense of humor, and they know what they are doing to create a successful restaurant. I wish, however they could take their cash and concept talents and create a meatless, fabulously flavorful and yet fun food emporium.
Having been to Salut once before, we knew it had little to offer the vegetarian diner, but Max won a gift card at the local Linden Hills Winter Festival Medallion Hunt, so we thought we’d give it a second chance. We had very low expectations regarding the food and knew it would be a sides, salads and fries kind of dinner. Nonetheless, it was a beautiful spring evening and we were happy to be able to sit outside to dine.
We were seated on the patio and pleasantly and promptly greeted by our server. He had at his side a chalkboard with the posted specials. I immediately noticed that both included meat. The waiter asked if we would like to hear about them, so I took that as an open door to request that he highlight any vegetarian options. Oh, to have seen the look on this poor man’s face. Looking at us taking up his table space must have been like watching twenty dollars fly out of his pocket because his demeanor suddenly changed. No longer smiling or pleasant his face dropped and his tone became quite curt. With tightly pursed lips, he responded that the meat could be removed from any of the pasta dishes and of course, there were salads and sides to choose from! My battle with pasta continues!
“Could I bring you something to drink?” he asked tiredly. Jeff then asked him what they had on tap. Our dear sad waiter laid out the list in a listless low mumble that was unintelligible, so Jeff of course asked if he might please repeat. Well, talk about put out. Before the listless low mumble of the list was uttered a second time, first came a deep sigh! I almost laughed. Fortunately, I never take personally a server’s mood. I like to keep it light and friendly no matter what. I will always live above the line having waited tables myself in the past.
For dinner we enjoyed a smattering of small plates and sides including a couple orders of the “Best Fries in the Twin Cities” according to Minneapolis/St.Paul Magazine, a large ‘Salut Bleu’ salad, a baby field greens salad, some steamed asparagus and a cheese pizza. It was all quite delicious and paired nicely with the beer we successfully ordered and the sidewalk patio ambiance.
I will never visit Salut again. Not because the server was childish and emotionally immature, but they just don’t have anything to entice my return. Herein lies the problem of the vegetarian who can cook. I can make it all at home and most of the time it’s better.
Phil, if you want to develop a fun vegetarian restaurant concept send me a line. I know how we can gain the market of those who eat organic vegetarian and healthful. The market is growing, and the food is incredible!