Thursday, March 29, 2012

Salumeria 104

Salumeria 104
Meat lovers beware: I am about to stray you into dangerous terrains; where you will be seduced by the lulling sound of tender meat being sliced to perfection and the enticing aroma of a high quality  Prosciutto; and you won't even have to make the long flight to Europe. Let me give you some background. Italy is known for its superior Salumi, or cured meats such as Prosciutto, Pancetta, Salame, and Capicola. A Salumeria is basically a cured meat shop, or Italian delicatessen. Its history dates back to Roman times when there was a need to cure meat in order to preserve it. Through time, it became a culinary delight; a sort of art enticing meat lovers with the originality and creativity of the spices used in the curing process of salting, smoking and air-drying the fresh meat. The result is a heavenly delight; boasting a distinct blend of flavors, as well as unique saltiness, and aromatics. While there are numerous Salumerias in Italy, they have also spread to other parts of the world, adding Italian favorites, sandwiches, and salads to their delicious menus, as well as artisanal cheeses and breads. Some may feature items directly imported from Italy, while others may choose to use local products instead.

Specials of the Day
Chef Angelo Masarin
In looking for my next adventure, and being a fanatic of everything Italian, I decided to visit a relatively new place I had the pleasure of being introduced to through a culinary demonstration: Salumeria 104, located at 3451 NE 1st Avenue, Suite 104, in Midtown Miami. Upon arriving, I immediately felt that I had been transported to an authentic trattoria in Italy. The charming decor is simple yet tasteful, providing a casual ambience with a cozy allure. I was welcomed by the waiter, Marco, who quickly gave me a nice table by the window. I absolutely loved being able to look to the area behind the marble bar, where all the meats are lovingly kept, and see the chef as he cut the salumi and prepared the dishes. The chef/owner of Salumeria 104 is Angelo Masarin, a brilliant chef  originally from the beautiful city of Treviso near Venice, whose  passion for cooking is as great when he is preparing his creations, as it is when he talks about his food. While the menu is not extensive, the selections are very traditional and classic, and there is also a chalkboard highlighting the specials of the day.

Piccola Selezione
I was looking forward to trying some of the cured meats at Salumeria 104, so I started off with their Piccola Selezione, a wooden board of cured meats, where you can choose one type of prosciutto and two salumis. Never having tried the Prosciutto San Daniele and knowing it isn't easy to find, I opted for that, and asked Marco if he would recommend the two salumis. He suggested the Cacciatorino and the Cotto al Tartufo. I trusted his expertise and wow, was the experience divine! The Prosciutto San Daniele was incredible; slightly sweet, with a silky texture and a delicate taste. As I savored each bite it was as if the thinly sliced delicacy was melting in my mouth. Chef Angelo pointed out that in order to retain the flavors of the meat,  it is important to use a slicer with a slow-spinning blade  that never heats up, such as a hand-cranked slicer versus an electric one, otherwise it can slightly "cook" the prosciutto, altering its taste and texture. Moving on to the Cacciatorino,  it was exceptional as well. Sporting a robust, spicy  flavor, it had a firm texture and intense aroma that definitely satisfied the palate. Chef Angelo prides himself in acquiring this artisanal delight from an exclusive curing facility in Connecticut, therefore it may only be found here. Finally, I tasted the Cotto al Tartufo and realized something I hadn't realized before: I was in pork heaven. This organic tender meat was exquisite! The subtle truffle taste lingered in my mouth and went well when I paired it with the basket of bread Marco brought to the table.

Tagliatelle Bolognese
Since the portion of salumi  was very generous, I didn't think I would be able to eat all of my next dish: the Tagliatelle Bolognese. A very classic dish created with housemade tagliatelle and a classic Bolognese sauce. Of course, for Chef Angelo, classic will always include a bit of his spectacular touch, so instead of the traditional all beef sauce, he uses 1/3 of each of the following: veal, beef and pork, to ultimately create a gastronomical pleasure full of flavor. The pasta was cooked al dente, and needless to say, although I initially didn't think I could finish it, I actually scraped all the sauce from the plate and didn't leave a single noodle behind.

Salame Al Cioccolato
Sitting back, meditating over this Italian feast, Marco offered me dessert. You'd think I'd say no, that I'd realize it was time to stop, but I couldn't. I wanted so badly to see what incredible sweet delight awaited me so I ordered a whimsical item on the menu. The Salame Al Cioccolato. It was a sort of chocolate log, cut to look like a slice of salami, consisting of a biscuit rolled with dark chocolate. Out of this galaxy! The strong flavor of the cold chocolate permeated through the crunchy biscuit leaving me breathless. Just when I thought I was done, along came a delicious, foamy cup of Capuccino and while I thought somebody should stop me, I pursed my lips on the cup, and let the foam take over. An incredible ending to an incredible meal. Bravo Chef Angelo! I cannot wait to return.

For more information, visit Salumeria 104's website at, or call them at 305 424-9588.

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