First Look: Chef’s new Salt Craft restaurant in Pleasanton

Clouds float on by at the Salt Craft restaurant in Pleasanton, Calif., on Thursday, April 12, 2018. Chef-owner Matt Greco, former executive chef of Wente Winery restaurant, is embarking on his first solo venture. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

After a long renovation project in downtown Pleasanton, chef Matt Greco has unveiled his first solo venture, Salt Craft. A Texas native, he cut his culinary teeth in Manhattan and Brooklyn before moving to the Bay Area. Here, he served as executive chef of The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards in Livermore for four years before deciding he wanted to create a place of his own.

THE VIBE: Laid-back with lots of fresh air. That’s because this is an al fresco restaurant — all al fresco, all the time. In that regard, this may very well be the most unusual opening of the year. You see, the 1930s bungalow-turned-restaurant houses the kitchen, a massive bread oven, the prep areas, an order counter, a coffee bar and restrooms, but there’s no indoor seating.

Instead, diners sit on the expansive patios on the corner of St. Mary Street and Peters Avenue under dark blue umbrellas and shaded pergolas. That was perfect for our sunny lunchtime meal. But at 5 p.m. Sunday, the Salt Craft staff was alerting folks with reservations to warn them that the weather had turned very windy and rain was on the way. A thoughtful, and perhaps necessary, gesture.

Clouds float on by at Salt Craft, where the dining is al fresco all the time. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

THE FOOD: All three meals are served, and most everything is available for takeout. Greco’s signature lamb pastrami has been a big hit with diners — no surprise there — during the restaurant’s first opening days. Available as an appetizer or a sandwich ($13), the tender, thinly shaved slices are served with Melissa Duesler’s house-baked crusty rye, pickled onions, cilantro and a “secret sauce.” We wanted to try the French Toast with Bourbon Brown Butter and Turkey Kale Sausage ($16), but it had sold out by the time we arrived. Other brunch offerings include Brisket with Polenta and Poached Eggs ($16) and a baking dish of four mini Cinnamon Rolls ($13).

Two or three salads are offered at lunch, brunch and dinner. (One, billed as a Roasted Chicken Caesar Salad, left Caesar, his dressing and his romaine behind and instead substituted frisee, radicchio, arugula and a vinaigrette.)

Weekday menus feature a couple of appealing deals: Breakfast Sandwiches (including a smoked salmon version and one with egg, mushroom, pistachio pesto and Camembert) run $6, and the sandwiches are available in 4-inch ($7)

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle

      

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