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There’s a real sausage fest coming to Hillcrest. Sorry, had to go there when I heard about Salt & Cleaver (3805 Fifth Avenue, Hillcrest), a venue devoted to house-made meat-in-tube-form scheduled to open this month, likely by April 15. All poor opening line choices aside, it sounds like a nice concept. Keep in mind that I’m usually cynical about most new spots I hear about that are devoted to mega-focused menus made up of signature items that are low in cost to produce but easy to charge exorbitant prices for due to their “artisanal” nature and the fact they’re en vogue.

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So, what makes Salt & Cleaver different? Rather than opening a cookie-cutter venue that could just as easily play home to a wine bar as a pizzeria or constructing a meager storefront with as much class and comfort as a McDonald's, the owners of this business are moving forward with a rather fun concept, going for an old butcher shop "speakeasy." It’ll be the type of place where, much like an underground gin joint, guests are encouraged to sit a spell and take their time over the specialty of the house. And, oh yeah, there’ll be craft beer, too. I'd be lying if I didn't 'fess up to that detail's influential power.

It’s a simple idea, but one that’s easy to get behind, especially since the ingredients used to craft the sausages, which will be designed to convey flavor combinations from around the world, will be procured from nearby sources. Offerings will include the “Pork Belly” with lemongrass-ginger relish, Sambal vinaigrette and China rose radish sprouts, and “Duck.Duck.Pig”—a duck and bacon sausage with crispy duck confit, bacon-aze and orange marmalade. Duck a l’orange with bacon. Um, yes, please!

Salt & Cleaver will also serve a lobster sausage with garlic pepper and shrimp remoulade, a jalapeño- and green chili-stuffed rabbit sausage, and their vegetarian option made from brown rice and eggplant that’s wrapped in a cauliflower leaf. Now, I’ll admit, that last one doesn’t get me salivating, but it’s inventive and none of the above qualify as more of the same old stuff I find on other meaty menus. That’s a victory in itself, and worth both a trip and a try.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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