Salumi is one of my preferred wine bars on Long Island. With a fun selection of international wines at reasonable per flight and per glass prices, delicious small plates (Holy oxtail, Batman) and a rustic wood hip vibe that seems more European capital than Long Island, it’s a terrific grown-up place to meet up with friends for a drink or two and a bite to eat.
Now, though, Salumi is also one of my favorite breakfast places. After more than five years in their corner storefront on Merrick Road in Massapequa, they have expanded into the space next door with a spice and cheese market and cantina that keeps the easy rustic feel and that will rock your breakfast plate and your lunch sandwich.
Owner Joshua Kobrin says it is a natural outgrowth of the Salumi concept, offering clients the opportunity to buy some of the terrific ingredients that make Salumi’s small plates so complex and flavorful.
“We wanted to be a cheese shop and gourmet market offering 10-15 interesting European cheeses, cured meats from Southern Europe, sodas, pasta and jarred items that are hard to find, and a by-the-pound spice market at good prices,” he says. “All the salts, pink peppercorns, fennel pollen; it’s all good stuff.”
The breakfast and lunch menus are meant to feed diners, but also to inspire them to pick up say, some black barley or purple quinoa or pecorino al tartufo from Sardegna or speck (a prosciutto-like sliced ham that is smoked, Trentino-Alto Adige Northern Italian style) at the market, take it home and give it a try.
I may very well do that on my next visit, but right now I am focused on working my way through the breakfast menu – me trying the savory and my son covering the sweet. I had the very firm and tasty frittata this time (Josh Kobrin says I must have the brown butter scramble next time “It’s insane, eggs with brown butter scrambled in, just light and fluffy”), the morcilla – made in the U.S.A. in morcilla de Burgos style with a pâte flavor. That was a revelation. My son tried both the Nutella pop tart and the French toast with bananas and chocolate sauce (when you are a food writer, sometimes you end up letting your kid/research assistant get more sweets that he should), both of which he pronounced “amazing” and “sick” and “awesome” before closing his eyes and lapsing into food coma.
A word on the pop tart and toast – the pastry was so luscious and the bread had such a good chew I had to ask about it. It turns out all breads and pastries are made in-house by pastry chef Elizabeth Gribko, who I want to be my next baking teacher.
Kobrin is excited about introducing these flavors and items to his neighborhood. “I live in this neighborhood, so I wanted this to be the kind of place myself I want to go to,” he says. “Our general mission is to bring top-quality European products to sell directly, but also to show what you can do with them. I especially love the spices by the pound at good prices. When you buy those tiny amounts in the supermarket for so much money, I think people tend to then under-use them and then you can’t taste the spice. We want to encourage people to use spices generously to make interesting meals like we do in the restaurant.”
Consider me encouraged.
Salumi Market is open seven days a week, from 7 am weekdays and 8 am Saturdays and Sundays.