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Salty Sow

4.7 864 votes

1917 Manor Road

(512) 391-2337

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Salty Sow # 1 Austin Restaurant
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Ivan Collins Last updated on Dec 18, 2023 by

The Salty Sow on Manor Road

If you haven’t been to Salty Sow, it remains a heavyweight in the Austin dining scene. Opening in 2012, it was one of the local leaders in implementing ideas like farm to table, local sourcing, and “use every part of the pig” in their menu. Their website says chef Harold Marmulstein spent 30 years working as an executive chef and you will taste the experience and passion he curates in every bite. 

The ambiance is relatively casual with interesting paintings of pigs adorning the walls, soft lighting, and a mix of regular seating alongside elevated tables with bar style seats. There’s several rooms indoors and an outdoor area as well. There’s even a “date night table” with its own velvet curtain for privacy and a long table that’s perfect for private parties. The place feels sophisticated without a feeling of pretentiousness or being over the top. The menu options and prices follow suit. We’re dining with a baby these days and went early at 4:45 so the little guy could get to bed on time. That led to a lucky run into the happy hour menu which features around 10 food items in the $5 - $7 range in addition to glasses of house red for $6 and $2 off beers and cocktails. Our party of 6 tried nearly everything on the happy hour menu before diving into some apps and entrees off the regular menu.

From the Salty Sow Happy Hour Menu

We started with Truffled Deviled Eggs, Duck Fat Fries with a 110 minute egg addition, Chicken Liver Mousse, and Fried Brussel Sprout Leaves. It was a tossup as to which was the favorite. They were all delectable in their own ways. The deviled eggs shined with presentation, the four halves meticulously plated in a row topped with bits of pork and chives. If you like a fried egg on top of fries, you’ll love the 110 minute egg improvement. It’s an extra $5 which is an intriguing lesson in parts vs labor; it’s the nearly 2 hour prep time that leads to the perfect consistency that turns a typical $2 add-on into $5 of decadent value that should not be skipped. The chicken liver mousse didn’t have a heavy liver taste and spread like room temp butter over a small baguette. If you’ve read any of my other reviews you know I always try brussels sprouts when I see them on menus to compare and contrast with other restaurants. These were individually peeled leaves, not the typical cut, fried to perfection for a super crisp and delicate flavor that was enhanced with an admirable portion of shaved pecorino on top. After this round, we added an order of fried chicken off the happy hour to complete our first course that could only be described as exceptional. The chicken could not have been more tender and the honey rosemary seasoned batter was off the charts delicious.

Salty Sow's 110 Minute Egg

Next Up, the Main Menu at Salty Sow

After a round of apps, we moved on to the main menu. They had some specials that day with  an Octopus dish on the menu for $19. Like brussels sprouts, I always try octopus when I see it to get ideas for my home kitchen adventures. This was a single, giant leg measuring nearly a foot long and seemingly fried in what I’m assuming was duck fat since the flavor was so rich you needed to spend a moment reflecting on each bite. It was so tender I wondered if they pressure cooked it first as Netflix taught us Octopus can put up a fight and pressure cooking always gives you the upper hand. I ordered some Dirty Fries as I wanted to compare them to the Trash Fries at my local joint, The Git Out on South Congress. These didn’t come off as well as those with the cheese being a little too sauce based. One meat-curious vegan member of our party broke the rules and ordered some carnita tacos off the happy hour menu that were spot on. Our die hard vegan ordered the roasted beets which looked charming and light, but I didn’t waste space tasting those as I was too busy sampling the Blackened Redfish and Slow Cooked Beef Shoulder after hoarding my octopus. The redfish was blackened to perfection and laid on top of a mix of quinoa and lentils in a spicy lemon butter which made every bite worthy of a pause much like the octopus. The braised beef shoulder was served in a metal bowl giving it a sort of a stew look and feel. Parts were perfect, but others needed a dip in its sauce to juice it up to the level I’d grown to expect from the octopus, redfish, and fried chicken

Octopus Dish at the Salty Sow
Finishing Off with Dessert

After all of that, you’d think we’d be ready to roll, literally, on to the rest of the evening also known as the couch. But instead we ordered Bananas Foster Beignets, flourless Chocolate Truffle Cake, and a bread pudding off the daily menu. This definitely pushed us over the edge and we were barely able to finish my favorite, the beignets, as they were stacked high and accompanied by 3 full scoops of gourmet ice cream. Everyone loved the Truffle Cake, but In hindsight I personally would have stuck with just beignets because they easily served 6 with just the right amount of dessert. But hey, it’s the 3rd wave of covid, we haven’t been out in a minute, and we were dining at the Salty Sow whose namesake alone justifies going hog wild. If that’s your goal, I resoundingly recommend the Sow. Our entire bill came out to $300 after tip. You can’t beat $50 a head for a feast of that magnitude. A lot of that is a nod to the excellent happy hour served daily from 4:30 - 6:30 including weekends.

Salty Sow Beignets

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