Restaurant Review: Salume

KATHLEEN SQUIRES
When in Rome, it's okay to sell a four-inch panini. But size does matter in the USA, as the owner of this sleek sandwich shop found out.  So after some criticism by American appetites clamoring for more, sandwiches were super-sized and prices trimmed. Six-inches of panini later, and there's more bite-for-your-buck, with exquisite ingredients that reassure diners they're getting more than they're paying for. Everything is sliced and assembled to order, and contrary to the Stateside stereotype, only the bread -- not the entire panini -- is grilled, just lightly enough to add an authentic, Italian crustiness. Fatty meats dominate the menu, with mortadella, bresola, coppa, speck, salami and three kinds of prosciutto. It's hard to get past the first panini listed: the classic Langhirano ($12), layers of primo prosciutto di Parma, mozzarella di bufala, tomato and olive oil, the perfect melding of saltiness, creaminess and acidity. Another winning combo: the Felino ($11.50, salami, provolone, arugula, horseradish and olive oil), a showcase of peppery nuance -- kicky, sharp, and smoky against the delicate meat. The Bellagio ($9.50) offers a perky, herbal vegetarian alternative, with fennel, gorgonzola, and tartar sauce. There are also small plates, like toasts and canapés, and cornetti ($3), Italian-style croissants popular for breakfast. And keeping with the theme, there's a frozen, sausage-shaped confection, known as "chocolate salami" ($8) for dessert. The space looks like a European kitchen design showroom, with clean lines, light wood accents, a display of the prized ingredients, and two Berkel meat slicers bookending the counter. Table service makes the spot feel especially civilized -- and recent tweaks now jibe with the space's upscale comfort. After all, even Rome wasn't built in a day.
 
Salume
330 West Broadway
(212) 226-8111
www.salumenewyork.com

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