Last night at the Spotted Pig, chef April Bloomfield proved that every inch of a 150-pound piggy—including the parts that, in many cultures, would be considered garbage—can be turned into unctuous food of the gods. Her five-course snout-to-tail dinner, paired with Sixpoint Craft Ales, was part of Time Out New York's Dining & Libation Society series. Twenty-two mouths got to eat just about every part of the Berkshire oinker—except maybe the eyeballs.
"Oh, I've had eyeballs before." Spotted Pig co-owner Ken Friedman admitted. Recently, when Bloomfield was boiling down a sheep's head, Friedman snagged the little gobs. "I was expecting to crunch down on something, but nope, not really." He swallowed it, sort of like an oyster. "Did it feel like a peeled grape?" One diner last night asked. "Nope, felt like an eyeball."
After the jump, photos of the snout-to-tail dinner, sans any eyeballs.
Though this was a very special dinner—the pig showed up last Tuesday, and the Spotted Pig team has been prepping broths, bellies, and terrines ever since—the restaurant probably receives a few pigs, the size of Bloomfield, every month.
They are expecting more Mangalitsa, the furry Hungarian fatty recently profiled in the New York Times, soon. A couple weeks ago, Bloomfield served the belly and trotters of a Mangalitsa-Berkshire crossbreed with prunes for $32, and people just couldn't digest it fast enough. Still no definite date on the next shipment. "Whenever the next batch matures."
In between prepping courses, Friedman mentioned his newest restaurant with Bloomfield—their third project together after the most recent John Dory—called Breslin at the soon-to-open Ace Hotel. It's slated to open June 1, and the menu is going for the same gist: animal butts and organs served in the richest possible of ways.
The Five Courses
First Course: Crispy pig skin salad with radishes
Your eyes think those are curly fries. Wrong!
Second Course: Trio of pig (shown above), eventually garnished with pickled shallots, mustard and potato bread (real spud hunks in there, kids)
Third Course: White bean and smoked ham hock soup
Think about split pea for a second. People don't eat that soup for the peas. The green whatevers are nice, but really just a conduit to the smoked ham hocky base. This soup captures that flavor but oomphs it up to turbo drive—and there's no peas in the way. Just really big white beans.
Fourth Course Braised pork belly with cotechino and fennel
"Yeah, that's it. The best pork belly of my life," some dude next to me said. Plus it was swimming in a broth made from cooked-down bones. Total broth candy. And can we talk about mostarda? Fruit that gets candied in syrup, but with a shot of mustard powder. Loving the Italians right now for figuring this little garnish out.
Fifth Course: Meyer lemon sorbet.
Tasted like they killed a whole Meyer lemon tree for one little scoop. It was that Meyer lemony.
These dishes were prepared especially for the dinner held on Monday, March 30. The normal Spotted Pig menu involves many dishes honoring the namesake animal, but sadly, none of these. To find out more about future DLS dinners, sign-up here.
314 W 11th Street, New York NY 10014 (map)