Walk into Salt & Time Butcher and Salumeria and the truth stares at you through the large bank of windows. Heritage hog carcasses and quartered cattle hang from an industrial rail that runs product from the delivery area into the butcher station where there’s serious work being done.
Skilled hands break apart animals. A surgeon’s precision separates muscle and tissue. It’s a silent workshop where craftsmen prepare animals that will later be cured and sliced thin for a muffuletta sandwich at the lunch counter or transformed into carved meat sculptures with alabaster bones protruding like the business end of a scythe. This is your lunch. This is where it comes from.
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Take a seat
Handsome vintage black refrigerators serve as the broad shoulders of a Spartan industrial space warmed by the large, wooden bar at Salt & Time. The design elements help the room achieve an aesthetic that the owners define as both classic and timeless … “old-school but not out of place.”
Salt & Time offers a shifting four-sandwich menu that features a mainstay muffuletta ($8) and a vegetarian version of the same, with marinated mushrooms and greens taking the place of the piggy pleasures offered by mortadella, cotto salami, ham and Lebanon bologna on the original.
Other sandwich offerings rotate in and out, such as a blushed roast beef ($11) served with sour herb ranch dressing and garlic confit and a salty pancetta ($11) with spinach, curried celery and the slight red wine vinegar tang of a red onion jam. The sandwiches, which could stand to rely more on their dressings and toppings and less on their meaty centerpieces, all come on excellent bread (like a honeycombed ciabatta and poppy-seed bun that tasted like toasty cereal) made in-house by Simon Perez of Baked in Austin.
The evening menu expands to include small plates like smoked pork loin ($10) and fried pig head torchon ($13). The centerpiece of the day and evening offerings are the salumi boards ($14) prepared with Salt & Time meats, such as 30-month prosciutto that melts like pork icing, the potpourri fragrance of lonzino, a nutty and woody coppa and firm sopresatta humming with red wine and a lingering light spice. And, if a board is too much to tackle, Salt & Time makes its own jerky and sausage sticks to grab and go.
Wash it all down with a Real Ale Four Squared draft ($4.50), a large-format Jester King bottle ($12-$23) or a can of beer from locals Austin Beer Works and Hops and Grain ($3). And if you need coaxing to avoid the threatening afternoon lull, Cuvee Coffee takes up shop in the corner of the building.
Salt & Time Butcher and Salumeria
Where: 1912 E. Seventh St.
Information: 522-7258; www.saltandtime.com
Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. (Lunch served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with evening bar menu service starting at 6 p.m.)