The charm of Sweetsalt Food Shop in Toluca Lake begins with the wooden sign outside advertising its name, evoking the feeling that you've been transported to a wonderful experience of a forgotten era. And it continues when you step inside and view marble and wood-topped tables against a wall with a wainscot bottom. This place has an aura of sensory pleasure, which is akin to the meal in which you are soon to partake.
The menu is not extensive but well designed so that there is enough variety to give people choices without assaulting them. We began by sharing a small tomato bisque ($4) that was served in a white porcelain soufflé dish and came piping hot — so much that we had to take small bites as it cooled, but it was delicious. The temperature was well matched with a kick of pepper and very soothing. We tried to guess the spices and may have detected a hint of paprika. Whatever it was, we thoroughly enjoyed it.