Good to Go is a column where our food writers explore Dallas' restaurant scene through takeout orders, delivery boxes and reheated leftovers.
Salaryman has a curbside menu that’s actually worth getting excited about.
When’s the last time you looked at a menu and considered how many times isn’t crazy to keep returning to a restaurant within the next few weeks to try everything?
That’s a problem thanks to COVID-19, of course; you can’t just sit at a table with friends and order multiple things. But with the ramen, a dish of fried koshihikari rice with koji bacon, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, eggs, peas and scallion, and a wagyu patty braised in mushroom gravy over rice with a gomae salad and potato salad, it’s certainly tempting.
If you can make a plan ahead of time, get some of what Salaryman does best: yakitori. It requires ordering a day in advance, and it’s the most expensive item on the curbside pickup menu at $25, but it’s worth it.
It’s called the pizza party pack, as it comes in a small pizza box. Pizza is great. Yakitori can be better, though, and this one is.
On the bottom is a row of perfectly cooked short-grain rice with chicken soboro. This part is what will make you want to run home quickly or eat in your car: The rice wants to stick to the paper beneath it, and once you get your chopsticks into it, you won’t want to stop eating it — nor will you want to see any bit of rice being wasted.
Heh: Fresh from the yak, not the pizza oven.
You’ll also get their chow chow, the cup of lovely pickled veggies. As for the skewers, you’ll get an assortment of five pieces. A recent visit involved squash — yellow and zucchini bites with a perfectly smoky flavor you’ll want more of — and chicken.
This day included the wing and shoulder, inner thigh, tsukune and rib.
A wing on the yakitori is excellent — the skin crisps in a way you always want it to and the bit of saltiness makes this an excellent piece of chicken.
The inner thigh is craveable — quite honestly, what caused this box to happen was having a dream about that exact piece from Salaryman last week. Not weird. It’s just that good. Thighs are arguably the best part of a chicken anyway, and this method executes them in the purest way with fire and simplicity.
You’ll eat the rib just as quickly, wishing there were more of it.
The tsukune, though, was the best part. In fact, this chicken meatball may replace the inner chicken thigh in our dreams. Just give us that and some of that rice on the side, and we’ve reached the perfect bite.
It’s also one of chef Justin Holt’s favorites, too — “by far,” he says.
It starts with chicken drumsticks and keel bones; those are ground and mixed with bread, onion, pepper and salt.
“It is really pretty simple. The onion we use currently is from Demases Farm (super sweet and juicy right now) and the chickens are Green Circle,” he says. “The chickens are raised out longer and feed on veggies and whatever bugs are in the area, giving them deep flavor, dark color and wonderful fat.”
While this current menu has many items we want, Holt says they’re trying to keep things changing so people don’t get bored. With what we see, we feel we won’t get bored anytime soon.
The pandemic has made some of us new appreciators of leftovers. The yakitori skewers and rice save perfectly well for a meal the next day: we reheated both at 350 degrees in the oven (separate containers, rice covered in foil). They're pictured with Brussels sprouts from Uchi (reheated in the toaster oven) becaue we really are saving everything.
Now, this yakitori deal is a steep meal, price-wise — worth every penny — but it’s also large enough to share, if you’re so inclined, or you can save some of the skewers and rice for the next day to make yourself feel better about the cost.
But really, after you eat this, you’ll feel quite fine with any decision you’ve made. For one, you won’t have a bite you regret. Second, Salaryman is still, along with a few other restaurants, getting good meals into the hands of people who need food. So when you call and order your pizza party pack, and when you later give in and order that wagyu hamburg, go ahead and tell them you’d like to order a meal for someone else. Now’s the time to share.
Salaryman, 287 N. Bishop Ave. (Bishop Arts District). Open for curbside pickup noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. 214-346-8902.