1912 E. 7th St.
Austin, TX 78702
I haven’t had dinner at this neat little spot yet, but I’ve snuck in for lunch on several occasions. And the lunch menu is simple, but essentially effective. The first visit, I tried their homemade meatball sub on a challa roll. The meatballs were substantial and inordinately tasty. And the red sauce was a bit zippy without it being really noticeable: I like that. Like everything there, the meatballs were made in-house.
The next trip, I tried the Reuben, and it was quite satisfying. Not quite as good as the one at Pious, but certainly in the upper echelon. The pastrami was tender with some subtle marbling, and the flavors were spot-on. I could easily go back for seconds on this one. The Rye Bread, a critical component, was equally good.
Another sound choice was the Cubano. My favorite Cubano in town is from Ben Nathan at Café Blue at the Galleria. But Salt & Time’s was damned good. The key to this sandwich is not to let it get dry. Moistness (not excessive) makes a great Cubano.
They followed the classic rules for this one: slow-cooked pork, a spicy ham that had a nice flavor, mustard, Swiss cheese and pickles. It was on Ciabatta which was an excellent choice. This is only going to get better.
My last choice was the Grinder. I grew up in New Haven with some of the great Italian bread grinders of all time. So I have high standards. And Salt & Time delivered, almost. I had no quarrel with the ingredients including mortadello, cotto salame, pepperoni, provolone, and oil and vinegar on a baguette. My biggest problem was with the bread. It actually detracted from the sandwich which should be a robust, lip-smacking delight. I needed a crunchier, more texturally sound roll, and the one provided just didn’t work.
But all in all, the lunches at Salt & Time have been good. Owner Ben Runkle is only too happy to engage his customers in free samples of whatever homemade meats happen to be in the cooler, and the place has a nice vibe. Next stop for us will be dinner, where the menu is minimal but very interesting!