Consider the saying: "It does what it says on the label.” It started as an advertising slogan and evolved into a British expression observing—with a whiff of sarcasm and touch of irony— that the goods inside the package performed as advertised, albeit perhaps no more. That certainly applies to Sausage & Meat (4130 Park Blvd.) in Hillcrest which approaches the sausages and meats it purveys with a sensibility that might be familiar to the Brits who coined that phrase.
Sausage & Meat (or "S&M" as it is called, tongue in cheek) is the latest venture from Scott Slater of Slater's 50/50 fame. I've previously confessed in this space to having something less than a love affair with the namesake burger of that restaurant.
That, perhaps, is why I approached S&M with trepidation. I needn't have.
S&M really is all about sausage and meat. More specifically, it is about the exotic side of sausage and meat. That was clear from the first appetizer: fried pig's ear in a General Tso's chicken-style sauce (actually more of a glaze). It is a dish that's a wonderful playground of textures—crispy, with the toothsome flesh of the pig's ear, crunch from the cartilage and the wonderfully gooey glaze. Don't order more than one because you will eat it all.
The core of S&M's menu is, of course, the sausage. The heart of that part of the menu is the game or unusual meat versions. There's alligator or wild boar Andouille, bison chipotle and wagyu beef frank (elk and venison show up elsewhere on the menu). The best of these were the two Andouille sausages. The alligator, in particular, stood up well to the Andouille spice. Garnishes of pickled onion, sauerkraut and pickles on our "Board" (as opposed to in a bun) cut the fat perfectly and played well with the spice.
I had especially looked forward to the wagyu beef frank. And, while it was a very good hot dog, that is frankly, all it was. It seemed like something of a waste of such high-end beef. The wagyu was at its best, ironically, as the somewhat surprising core for corn dog bites. Overall, the whiskey fennel sausage was a better bet—savory with heady notes and a hint of sweetness from the fennel.
S&M also offers a number of sandwiches. The venison meatballs in marinara are a good bet, the arugula adding a refreshing note. The Korean steak sandwich was less satisfying, a bit of a downgrade from that upon which it was riffing.
The last thing I expected to like about S&M was the dessert. But the caramel bacon chews were well worth saving room for; dessert done meat-style. In fact, despite the presence of grilled broccolini and salads on the menu, that is pretty much what everything at S&M is.
After all, it does what it says on the label.