12 Courses at Salumi Tapas & Wine Bar in Massapequa

About two days before New Years Eve, I realized Mike and I had not made any plans and may be doomed to over-consuming wine at our desks for a semblance of celebration if I didn’t find somewhere to make a reservation stat! I considered a few familiar places and consulted the beset rated restaurants on Yelp as to not have a repeat of last year’s debacle at Alletto’s. You can read my Yelp review of that eye-opening New Year’s dinner here.

I came across Salumi Tapas & Wine and loved all the rave reviews from other Yelpers. It’s located only 5 minutes from our house so the deal was sealed. I made a reservation for their 12 course open bar dinner for the early seating and we were on our way.

The shopping center that Salumi is located in is nice, but maybe an odd location for such a great restaurant. Though I forget that on Long Island, everything is in a strip mall. Parking is easy to come by and the lot is well lit.

The atmosphere is warm and inviting with rustic decor and soft lighting. Lots of wood, wine crates and antique glass.

We arrived early and were seated quickly. I was a little wary when a couple with a small child were put in the booth next to us (not really a child-friendly restaurant, especially not on New Years Eve), but she was thankfully well-behaved and totally silent throughout the meal. Nothing ruins a meal quicker for me than a fussy baby.

The music was right up my alley and I felt like they were playing right off my Spotify account with a mix of indie rock and ambient electronic music. About midway through the meal a 2 piece jazz band started to pick up and a flamenco dancer and singer joined them. I wish I knew their name because the performance was enchanting! Traditional jazz music, old standards and flamenco.

The food was fabulous. I was so thrilled to try many things I never would have ordered on my own and appreciated Salumi’s use of seasonal fare like root vegetables. I didn’t feel like the overall amount of food for the 12 courses was too much or too little. I was satisfied at the end of the meal without feeling stuffed. At the beginning, I was really enjoying the food brought out and wished there were more because it was so delicious! Mike enjoyed the meal and the experience, though he would have preferred more meat-centric entrees and for the meal to not end with a cheese plate. He thought the light dessert was the perfect end. My only suggestion for the 12 course event would be to have a nice list of each course available to the diners. It was sometimes difficult to remember what was in each course and what I liked or didn’t like about it.

I thought that the meal for the evening was a great value, we ended up having a bottle of wine and a bottle of champagne between the two of us, which more than made up for the cost of the evening.

Now on to the main event, the food pictures:

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Salmon Ceviche– This was up there as one of my favorite courses of the meal and was the first we started out with! The salmon was fresh and had great flavor, akin to what you’d expect of great sashimi (ceviche is raw fish as well). It was seasoned in a soy-type of sauce, though I’m unsure exactly what it was. It was served on top of a rice cracker and topped with some kind of cilantro.

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Warm Brussel Sprout Salad With Hazelnuts and Lemon Vinaigrette– The brussel sprouts were delicious, but I wasn’t crazy about the flavor of the cabbage leaf it was served on. The hazelnuts paired well with the flavors. I would have liked to have tasted more of the vinaigrette too.

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Pata Negra with Quince and Almonds– This delicious, aged ham was so good that I forgot to take a picture before we devoured it. It was served atop quince, which from what I can tell is a kind of pear, and with almonds. The pata negra itself was so good. It melted in my mouth and had an amazing flavor. I really liked the quince and this was the first of a few instances of it throughout the meal.

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Burrata Cheese with Kumquats, Persimmons and Mint– This was a really interesting flavor combination and parts of it I really enjoyed while others I wouldn’t necessarily seek out on my own. The burrata cheese was delicious; it’s similar to fresh mozzarella in the outer coating while the inside is  more crumbly like ricotta. It had a really great texture and flavor that paired well with the various fruits and herbs. This was my first time also trying kumquats and persimmons. I wasn’t crazy about kumquats, but really loved the texture and taste of the persimmons. They felt like some hybrid of pears, apples and a hint of the earthiness of sweet potatoes. I enjoyed having fruit with a savory item like this creamy cheese.

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Beets with Marscapone Cheese and Almonds– Growing up, the only instance of beets I had tried were the bright pink pickled beets sometimes served as a Sunday dinner side. Not my first, second or third choice of a veggie. These beets however were unlike any I’d tried before! The creaminess of the marscapone cheese balanced the earthy and bitter taste of the beets. I’m not sure how the beets themselves were prepared, but it was a nice contrast to the pickling I’m used to.

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Aged Beef Sliders with Tomato Jam and Herb Cream– Finally, some real meat arrived! The aged beef had a rich and intense flavor, cooked perfectly without being dry at all. I loved the tomato jam as an alternative to ketchup- definitely something I’d like to replicate in my kitchen. I would have liked to taste more of the herb cream on this course. The bread was good, but I found it harder to tear into than the beef patty resulting in an odd ratio of bun to burger.

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Raviolo with Sage Brown Butter, Egg Yolk and Cauliflower Puree– Another creative combination that threw me for a loop. I’ve never consumed uncooked egg yolk before, but was it ever good. It really held together the perfectly seasoned cauliflower puree on the inside of the raviolo and gave it a bit more of a rounded protein taste. I’m always a huge fan of sage butter sauces with ravioli, so it was great to have that comforting element with new ingredients inside the pasta.

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Roasted Root Vegetables with Pepita Ginger Garlic Crumble– I can’t recall what specific root vegetables there were in here, though I hazard a guess that parsnips and carrots made an appearance. I love roasted root veggies and the sweetness that can be pulled from savory foods just by the technique used to prepare them. The ginger garlic crumble was a great complement to that.

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Crispy Pork Belly with Gingerbread Spiced Beans- Can you even say anything bad about pork belly other than there wasn’t enough to gorge yourself on? This was no exception. The crispy top provided a nice crunch while the rest of the meat was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. And gingerbread spiced beans? Move over Bush’s, there’s a new BBQ side dish in town.

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Foie Gras and Parsnip Puree topped with Quince and Fried Carrot Strips– I jokingly said after a few glasses of wine that I’d try anything they brought in the courses, even something as out there to me as liver. Well wouldn’t you know it, I tried foie gras. There wasn’t much room for me to have an ethical dilemma because just tasting the rich, almost buttery duck liver was enough to convert me. The parsnip puree was savory and filling as well, not something I expected from a vegetable I’ve rarely if ever consumed. Again, the quince was delightful and the fried carrot strips added just a bite of crunch.

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Lemon and Ginger Sorbet– I’m a big chocolate dessert girl, everyone knows this. So I won’t be too hard on the lemon and ginger sorbet. Mike thought it was the perfect end to a meal with so many flavors as a palate cleanser, kind of how pickled ginger is to be eaten after a meal of sushi. Me? I think both taste like Pledge, but it wasn’t that bad I guess.

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Various Cheeses with Fig Jam, Almonds and Cherries– I’ll take cheese over lemon desserts any day. I didn’t eat too much cheese as I was pretty full by then, but the far left cheese, whatever it was, tasted great with the fig jam. It was brie-like in taste and texture.

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Our wine for the evening was Pinot Evil and it was delicious. We’ll definitely be seeking this one out for our personal reserve.

Overall, I thought Salumi Tapas & Wine Bar was the perfect place to spend New Years Eve and I can’t wait to make a return trip. Everything was delicious and innovative and I felt no guilt about the hearty, seasonal ingredients they used.

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