By Peter Gibbs & Hayden Kulick
Located in the heart of downtown Riverside, The Salted Pig is a restaurant and bar that offers a variety of pork inspired items.
At this restaurant the menu is almost never the same. The items on the menu change around every six months.
What sets the establishment apart from most is the feel of when you walk in. Every worker at The Salted Pig is friendly and inviting, which can instantly draw a hungry soul to eat pig-based food.
The MSG Burger is a normal hamburger with a subtle difference. The burger is topped with a chipotle aioli and an enoki mushroom slaw. The patty is claimed to be a “smash burger style” however, the meat was hardly smashed. It was still very bulky, which is not a bad thing, but it also lacked flavor. The patty tasted as if there was little to no seasoning applied.
This burger also had very thick slices of bacon, which is usually a good thing. But on this burger it was too thick. The patty and bun were extremely soft and tender whereas the bacon was the opposite.
One side of the slice was cooked to perfection and the other side was not good at all. It was rock hard and burnt to a crisp.
Slaw on a burger is a controversial topic depending on who you ask. In this case, it should have been left off.
The Enoki mushroom slaw is too watery and has almost no flavor. If the flavor had been more powerful it could help the burger out. Instead it just made it soggy.
The chipotle aioli isn’t bad, but doesn’t fit well with the other contents of the burger. Generally going for a sweet and savory combo is a good idea, but it was just too sour.
The one decently sized slice of gouda cheese that is placed on top of the patty was good, but not enough.
There was almost nothing redeemable about this burger.
The Pork Belly Sandwich has a different taste with each bite. Some bites were better than others.
With a combination of the pickled fruit and brown sugar dressing, you’re first met with something sweet. Unfortunately, the dressing is too runny and drips off the dish quickly, leaving you with pork belly topped with butter lettuce.
Pork is a tough meat to cook, however the main star of this dish will have you chewing through gristle one bite and then chomping down into overcooked belly the next.
The common side dish served with sandwiches is french fries. However, the restaurant offers “dirty fries” for an upcharge. These fries are well-seasoned topped with melted cheddar cheese, confit garlic and chives. Simply put, they are fancier garlic fries.
What helps make this side a good pairing for any main dish is the combination of garlic, cheese and salt being dipped into a house made ketchup.
That dipping sauce hits the taste buds with a sweetness that is immediately countered by a spiciness, leaving the customer with a pleasant surprise.
While the food was okay and the service was good, for the price, there are better options in the area for this kind of dining.