Monday, January 12, 2009

NYC Part 1

It's been a pretty good trip so far from a culinary point of view. Saturday Ellen and I went to Porchetta, a little storefront joint in the East Village that's been much touted as an excellent place to indulge in the Roman delicacy. Given the shitty snow and freezing rain, greasy slow-roasted pork seemed like a good bet.

It was unremarkable at best. I read this effusive review just now, and but for the address I'd be convinced that they were talking about adifferent place. They talk about "wonderful beans that hold their integrity." The beans were utterly bland and noticeably undercooked; they held their integrity because they were just shy of still hard. Greens (broccoli rabe and chard) were fine, a side of brussels sprouts were nicely cooked, though too sweet, and a curried cauliflower soup delivered on that classic flavor duo. And the meat? The namesake? The "citywide attraction" that this droolingly sycophantic puff-piece of a review brays about?

Was nothing special at all. The skin was nice and crisp, and the meat was moist, but it had a kind of one-dimensional anise flavor and not much else; it was underseasoned by a factor of about four. Now leaving aside the understandable lack of a big open fire and spit to do it properly, for the life of me I cannot understand what the fuss is about. Give me a loin, a belly, some seasoning, and an oven, and I could make this so much better on my first try. This place is a wasted opportunity to provide a neighborhood with one of the world's great comfort foods.

Sunday Andrew finally arrived, after spending the night at O'Hare because of weather. We went right to work, and murdered forthwith a giant table of dim sum on the Bowery. The little hedgehog guys- stuffed with vegetables- were something I haven't seen before, but their novelty and cuteness bought them no reprieve.

Then, last night, we went with Mike and amy to The Good Fork in Red Hook. It has also garnered praise, and in this case it has been happily deserved. All three of us guys tucked in to their signature steak and egg (marinated flank steak with kimchi rice and a fried egg on top) and Amy had ravioli with brown butter. Aside from the egg being a touch overdone- thus lowering the unctuosity quotient of the yolk- it was a heavenly confluence of flavors and comfort. We found some 2002 Olga Raffault Chinon "Les Picasses" which was a treat, especially since Andrew and I bought a 1990 of the same wine to celebrate his visit (though we haven't opened it yet.)


Heather said...

How could you murder those cute little hedgehogs? Especially forthwith?

I've been having Jube withdrawals. Godspeed to your safe return.

Brittany said...

Porchetta sounds like a fucking drag! I hate an undercooked bean with as much passion as I do for a mushy overcooked one.

I love the last place's take on steak & eggs, Asianing it out a bit.
I'm gonna need to test that one out on the man....

The Spiteful Chef said...

I wanna make hedgehog dumplings. How do you think they did it? As for restaurant reviews, very occasionally you get one where the diner is clearly all up on the restaurant's nuts. It sucks.

peter said...

Blanche: With a hungry grin.

Brittany: I know. No excuse. Kimchi rice, though, is the shit.

Kristie: The dough was sorta bready, and the spines were just cut with a knife. Sesame seed eyes. Diluted egg wash for color.

And ordinarily I would assume it was one bad (good) review, but it's been mentioned in GQ and everybody's heard about it. Makes no sense.

We Are Never Full said...

hey peter...

so now i'll never go to porchetta. your review will always matter more to me than nymag. so great to hang out last night!! (That extra exclamation point was just for you). you and andrew were a refreshing change from the douchebags i usually hang out with. enlightening convo, discussion about food and politics and some talking shit thrown in. all and all a perfect night with a few strangers (no longer).

Heather said...

Amy, don't believe anything he told you about me. It's all lies. Lies!