Out New York
: January 2011

by Cesar Delgadillo

A Shop Worth its Salt

Dour city officials may have declared sodium a public enemy last year, but that didn’t stop Portland, Oregon–based salt shop the Meadow (523 Hudson St between Charles and W 10th Sts, 212-645-4633) from opening an outpost here in the fall. Thirty-plus countries are represented in the store’s collection of more than 100 salts, each painstakingly sourced by owner Mark Bitterman. Perennial chef favorites like delicate fleur de sel, flaky Maldon and quartz-like slabs of Himalayan pink are well represented. But the real treat is chatting with the shopkeepers and tasting their colorful, far-flung finds, contained in glass canisters lining the shelves. A new arrival, the Alaska Pure (bright, sweet flakes with a mineral crunch) works with everything from moist fish to winter green salads, and the magenta-pink Maboroshi Plum Salt, made from the vinegar of salt-preserved plums, has an acidity that plays well with sautéed vegetables, pork and poached eggs. Bitterman calls these crystalline beauties “elemental pleasures,” and the same can be said of the rest of his offerings: Flowers—including amaryllis and tulips—fill the space, ready for an impromptu arrangement; bitters, like local upstarts Bittermens and Regan’s, are arranged on hemlock tables; and an entire wall of chocolates emphasizes rare and single-origin varieties. We favor Byrne & Carlson’s stunning, limited-production bars decorated with crystallized violets, and the Sahagun Sun Drops—dark-chocolate balls oozing sunflower-seed butter and raw blackberry honey. We can’t help but think that a handful of these, and an upgrade from Morton table salt, might be just what some curmudgeonly legislators need.

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