Restaurant Review: The Pig

>> Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I just found out the other day that one of my friends that has never eaten pork (ok, never is a slight stretch but its pretty close) is making a change. Due to his circumstances right now, he figured that it’s now or never and to be honest I’m behind this decision 100%. He’s a huge foodie and having to avoid pork before really limited what he could and couldn’t eat. Now the world is his pork belly. While talking to him about everything pork related, I couldn’t help but think of our recent trip to Washington DC and how we visited a restaurant called The Pig, specializing in everything…pig! If only it was in town, it'd be the easiest way to introduce my friend to everything great about the pig, but since it isn’t he’ll just have to result to reading about all the great things we tried while we were there.

Atmosphere: Warm wood furnishings surrounding a boisterous dining room reminiscent of a French brasserie.

Price Range: Mid $10s

Food and Wine: Walking in to the restaurant aside from the huge story of “The Pig” (posted below), they also highlighted all the locally sourced ingredients and where they’re from. I thought it was a really nice way to highlight that they believed in supporting their local farmers and businesses.

After ordering our meal, our waitress asked us if we wanted some bread and “swine butter”. I was thoroughly intrigued! I couldn’t wait to see what it tasted like. My best explanation of it is to imagine spreading delicious bacon on your toast. Smoky porky goodness! She also talked us in to trying one of their amazing cocktails.  We decided to sample the Farmhouse Smash, which was extremely refreshing with strawberries, vodka and honey, but the true star was the basil. I really enjoy herbs in cocktails and this was no different. A great way to kick off the evening.

We started with a light appetizer of Beets and Green served over sautéed swiss chard. Even though I’ve had both ingredients before, it was never together which made for a completely different flavour profile. The vinaigrette added a really nice depth of acid to the dish and really took it to a new level. The Heirloom Radish salad was another nice light starter. It came with lots of fresh arugula, crunchy pecans and a very light vinaigrette dressing.

Next up were our pork dishes and we had to order the Charred Belly. Probably the best pork belly I’ve had. The exterior was extremely crispy to the point where it didn’t taste fatty since a lot of the fattier interior was seared off. Yet the belly meat itself was still tender. The dish was accompanied by a creamy celery root puree, refreshing watermelon jam and pickled rind. All of it came together to form a spectacular dish.

After seeing the Braised Cheek, I knew we had to order it! The meat was falling apart it was so tender and we didn’t even have to cut it with our fork let alone any knife! I really liked the stone grits, adding that much needed texture to the delicate pork cheek. The Spanish sofrito was a nice added touch as well.

Clearly we couldn’t get enough of the pork belly because we also had it in our Herb Gnocchi dish. Each gnocchi were soft and plump, which tasted great with the crispy pork belly chunks and truffled corn. I enjoyed the added earthiness to the dish, truffle with corn is my new favourite combo (have you ever tried truffled popcorn?). I would have really like to see more of a sear on the gnocchi, but I liked the flavour of the dish none the less.

I would have loved to try another couple more dishes at this point (Boar Merguez Sausage, Porchetta...) however the dishes were a good size and I knew there was still dessert around the corner. When the waitress talked about the dessert menu, she mentioned the Sundae Bloody Sundae, named because they actually used pork blood to stabilize the ice cream. It totally peaked my interest and I knew I had to try it (mind over matter!). The texture of the ice cream was very unique. It was quite thick and reminded me of eating a really cold piece of fudge. It was still enjoyable and definitely still tasted like chocolate, but it did get a bit heavy. Luckily we also had the Crepe Brulee Cake, with layers of Chantilly cream sandwiched between crepe after crepe. It was nice and light, a good contrast to the ice cream.

That evening we had an amazing bottle of Lioco Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast. It was very light red in color and smelled lightly of tea. Bright acidity made for a really nice mouth feel with a lingering medium bodied finish. Very smooth and overall a very enjoyable wine!

My Picks: Beets and Greens, Charred Belly

Overall: Although our time in DC was short, our foodie experiences were amazing. We really enjoyed our meal at The Pig and couldn’t wait to share it with everybody we knew. I can’t wait to go back to eat the rest of the menu! Now if only they had a restaurant up here, then I could bring my friend to enjoy everything pig, but I guess until then he’ll just have to read about all the amazing things he’s yet to try!

The Pig
1320 14th St. NW
Washington DC, 20005
(202) 290-2821

The Pig on Urbanspoon 


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