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Grazing: A first look at the Iberian Pig

A taste of Spain in Decatur

I’ve spent a lot of time in Spain, mainly in Sevilla. My favorite restaurant there is Casa Salva, a hole-in-the-wall near the Museo de Bellas Artes. It’s been a few years since I visited, but it was open only 1-6 p.m. and the menu was mainly a list of specials that changed daily.

The Spanish love of ham becomes clear as soon as you gaze through restaurant windows anywhere in Spain and see hams festooning the ceilings. But it was at Casa Salva that I began to see the true dimensions of that love. The owner often came to my table and — no joke — recited the pedigree of the ham he was featuring that day. He told me where the pig was raised, on which side of a certain mountain, what it ate and how the ham had been cured.

So, it’s no surprise that I was excited to visit the Iberian Pig (121 Sycamore St., 404-371-8800) in Decatur. It takes its name from the famous black Iberian pig that is the source of arguably Spain’s finest ham. The restaurant has been opened by Federico and Stephanie Castellucci, the husband-wife team who also own the three popular Sugo restaurants that specialize in mainly Italian and Greek food. The restaurant’s managing partner and chef is Chad Crete.

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(Photo by James Camp)