First Taste

Salty Sow in Phoenix Could Use Some Spice

When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out and let you know our initial impressions. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).

Restaurant: Salty Sow Location: 4801 East Cactus Road Open: Three days Eats: Contemporary American cuisine Price: $11 to $30 per person

Salty Sow is the kind of restaurant that seems poised for national franchise glory. Its name's a nod to the swine-minded food trend that's skyrocketed pork belly to near rock star status on menus. Its interior is subtle in theme while still giving off a sense of independent ownership. And the food is advertised as "providing a high-end dining experience without the high-end check."

See also: - The Good and the Better About Bragg's Factory Diner in Phoenix - Sunnyslope's Spoke & Wheel Off to a Wobbly Start

Salty Sow owners Guy Villavaso and Larry Foles know a little something about franchises. The successful restaurateurs launched Z'Tejas, Roaring Fork, and sold their Eddie V's and Wildfish concepts last year to Darden Restaurants Inc. for $59 million.

Salty Sow in Phoenix is the second location of the duo's Austin-based original. But when it comes to flavor, this swine can be a snoozer.