Margot Blondet knows not to mess with the pork belly.
“It is one of the things you cannot take off (the menu) because people will get mad at you,” the chef-owner of Salar Restaurant and Lounge, located at 500 E. Fifth St. in Dayton’s Oregon District, said with a laugh.
Opened since 2013, Salar has consistently had a pork belly dish on its menu. It changes things up every once in a while.
>> MORE: Photos of delicious eats from Salar
Like bacon, pork belly is fatty meat taken from the belly of a pig. Unlike bacon, pork belly is uncured and unsmoked.
Blondet said the pork belly she serves is roasted for three hours. Moisture is added.
“Everybody wants little piece of the leftovers when we cut it,” she said.
A TASTE OF PERU
The restaurant’s current pork belly dish ($14.50) comes crispy on a bed of sweet potato and arugula hash. It is topped with onion relish and a sunny side up egg.
Blondet said the recipe her eatery serves is inspired by Peru’s chicharrones mala, a breakfast and on-the-go sandwich.
“We twisted it a little,” the graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Lima, Perú said. “The preparation and the ingredients (with the exception of bread) are still the same.”
Blondet was also trained in Italy and France.
Pork belly, uncured or cured, is irresistible.
“When I see a picture of a little pig I feel bad,” Blondet said. “But when I smell bacon, I forget about the picture.
>> MORE: 3 Dayton dishes that will give you the meat sweats
ONE PLACE, THREE WAYS TO EAT PORK BELLY
Three pork belly dishes are on the menu at the Wandering Griffin, 3725 Presidential Dr. in Beavercreek.
There is the pork belly grilled cheese ($11); pork belly mac and cheese ($13) and the BBQ pork belly pizza made with BBQ sauce, red onion, fontina cheese and herbs.
Tony Griffin, the restaurant’s co-founder, said pork belly is versatile and can be used in many recipes.
“(It) was something that was unique and fresh and high quality,” he said.
Corner Kitchen, located at 613 E 5th St. in Dayton’s Oregon District, no longer makes its BLT toast with pork belly -- instead, they are now using bacon.
But dang, is it still delicious.
Crispy braised bacon comes on toast topped with bibb lettuce and tomato jam you won’t soon forget for $8.