Every couple of months a magical event occurs; I get a guilt free weekend of eating and drinking. The timing is somewhat sporadic, and always coincides with my best friends visit. We’ve been buddies since high school. Even more than being my best friend she is my foodie soul-mate. On her most recent visit to D.C., we decided to visit Logan Circle’s new installment The Pig on her first night in town.
I can unabashedly say that this spot is completely unashamed in its dedication to swine. While we had an hour-long wait for our table, once we sat down, the service was virtually seamless. The decor of the Pig is done in that post industrial modern style that’s so popular with the kids these days. Wood, low caged industrial lighting, and pictures of money adorning the wall were the order of the day. We were one of the last tables to be seated. Being somewhat serious about our food, we studied the menu intently: this was serious business.
During our first 20 minutes in the restaurant, we only came to a 100% consensus on one of the dishes on the entire menu. Upon presenting our selection to the server he informed us that because most of the dishes were small plates we should order more than one at at time. This sent us back to frantically studying the menu. By this time we were so hungry that all self control was completely out of the door. I went back to the menu the next day and determined that there were exactly 28 items on the dinner menu. Between 4 people we ordered 11 of those dishes, totaling ~40% of the entire menu. This does not include the two jugs of wine we drank. Because The Pig is completely green, everything is used again. This means that wine is on tap and served in jugs. I highly recommend trying a jug since it ultimately results in more wine being brought to the table. The stark reality of our fat-assed-ness was hard to accept, but ultimately worth it. I think that most true foodies would understand the extreme gluttony that took place.
We started out with the herb gnocchi served with truffle corn and crispy pork belly. The herb gnocchi was delectably tender, and as is often the case with swine, the flavor was enhanced by the crispy pork belly. Next we moved onto the crispy pig ear salad. I wanted to love this dish, but the crispy pig ear was more akin to crutons than pig ear, so a bit of a disappointment. The flavor was not at all bad, but I was definitely expecting something else. Moving on . . . Next we had the sweetbread & bacon ravioli with pickled tomatoes, toasted almonds. This was one of my favorite dishes. The pasta was cooked to perfection and the flavors of the pickled tomatoes melded well with the bacon ravioli.
Our second course included the wild boar ragu with parpadelle and pecorino, the meatballs made of pork and lamb, and the charred belly. I cannot in all honesty recommend the wild boar ragu. I had high hopes for this dish, but it ended up falling flat. It is the only thing on the menu that could be described as remotely lacking flavor, a hard feat to accomplish when everything is infused with bacon. The Pig redeemed itself with the pork and lamb meatballs, served with stewed tomato sauce, arugula, and grits. Being from the south, grits have a special place in my heart, so I was programmed to love this dish from the start. The meat balls were tender, the arugula was perfectly cooked, and the stewed tomato sauce was infused with a complexity you would be hard pressed to find elsewhere. The crispy pork belly was another table favorite. I was a bit turned off by the watermelon jelly, but everyone else at the table loved it.
Our third course included the only non pork based products ordered all night. It included chicken livers, crispy pork shank, and heirloom tomato salad. I insisted on the chicken livers. Nobody at the table liked them except for me. Sigh. What can I say, they were a throwback to my childhood, and I enjoyed every bite. The crispy pork shank was pretty good on its own, but it shown when paired with boar and mushroom spoon bread and hog sauce. I have no idea what was in the hot sauce, but I definitely enjoyed licking it off the spoon. By the time we got to the heirloom tomato salad, but anyone who has read my previous posts understands that heirloom tomatoes are one of my true passions. This one did not disappoint.
All in all, if pork is you thing, you cannot miss going to the Pig. In retrospect I’d get the fried green tomatoes with duck confit. That may be my biggest regret. Once I bury the shame of unbuttoning my pants to make room for my belly and almost falling asleep in the booth, I will certainly return to The Pig in order to sample the other half of their menu.