Monday, March 30, 2009
The Spotted Pig - Pig-out on Goodness!
The Spotted Pig - 314 West 11th Street, New York NY 10014
A/C/E Train to 14th Street or 1 Train to Christopher Street-Sheridan Square
Being a loyal fan of Top Chef, I've heard so much about April Bloomfield, a guest judge, chef and owner of Manhattan gastro-pub, The Spotted Pig. I've been curious about it for quite some time, so when I found out that it's located just a short walk away from work, I took the opportunity to try it. My co-worker and friend, Marietta joined me and we both had a great time uncovering a new culinary treasure. It more than lived up to its name and I'll be going back soon, no doubt.
The Spotted Pig is a laid-back, trendy gastro-pub, that's cool without trying hard--or hardly trying. Everything about it is quaint, charming and really comfortable--from the cozy booths and dim lighting to the kitchy pig knick-knacks that deck the walls and the bar. I like that everything looks imperfect--appearing to be thrown together--but actually meshing together harmoniously. Even the music is chill and your mood transforms upon entering the dining room--from fast-paced city girl (in my case) to mellow-yellow mama. I loved what this place did to my mind--and to my stomach.
I've heard nothing but great things about the food. Eager to try their signature dish, the char-grilled burger with shoestring fries, I didn't hesitate before ordering it. Marietta chose a less traditional dish (the prosciutto, ricotta tart) that was equally exceptional. Our lunch made us full and happy--and so curious to try the rest of the menu next time.
Char-grilled Burger - Getting a sneak peek of this dish from nearby tables, my excitement escalated with each passing second. When it finally arrived, I couldn't be happier. The burger patty was large and sandwiched between a fluffy bun with gorgeous grill-marks on top. Once I bit into it, it was bliss--the meat was tender, juicy and just melted in my mouth. Every bite got better and better, as the meat flavors married with the melted Roquefort Blue Cheese on top. It was the perfect mix of savory, tangy and sweet. I absolutely loved the big pile of shoestring fries that came on the side--they were dressed with plenty of course salt, pepper, fried garlic shavings and fresh rosemary--my favorite spice.
Prosciutto/Ricotta Tart - This was Marietta's entree and she seemed to enjoy it a lot. I had the pleasure of tasting it and was impressed--especially with the puff-pastry dough. It was extra flaky, buttery and definitely tasted like good, homemade dough. The ricotta on top provided rich creamy goodness, while the prosciutto offered nice contrast with a salty bite.
Flourless Chocolate Cake - We chose this dessert after eliminating a couple of options. When I think of flourless cake, I always think of a warm dessert with an oozing, chocolate sauce middle. This cake wasn't like that at all--instead it was more fudgy, enhanced by orange flavor and homemade whipped cream. The whipped cream was absolutely delicious, providing a more gentler taste than the cake. While the cake was good, it was too rich and hard to swallow, as it was so thick. I craved a tall glass of milk just to wash it down. Next time, I'd go with something else like their signature dessert, the Banoffee (toffee/banana pudding).
Service and Cost:
Service was an area that needed improvement. From the very beginning, the staff seemed disorganized and not fully "on the ball." The hostess was missing for the first few minutes and when she finally appeared she told us that she'd be right back after putting quarters in a meter--what?!
Our waiter also doubled up as a bartender and therefore, he forgot about us and we were accommodated by two additional servers. It was confusing and mildly frustrating. Next time, I wouldn't mind sitting at the bar because I think that the service would be quicker.
The Spotted Pig is a definite splurge. The food is expensive but of such good quality that it's worth the extra bucks. My burger was whopping $17 and Marietta's tart was $18. In addition to the food, I got a beer for the steep price of $9. Our entire lunch including drinks and dessert set us back $40 per person with tax and tip.