Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Pig

The Pig, located in Logan Circle, is a nose-to-tail restaurant featuring a menu that blends a culinary experience in American Southern with influences from Italian and Asian cooking. Whole pigs are crucial to the menu’s philosophy and are sourced from Eco Friendly Farms in Virginia. The menu is mainly designed around sharing plates with prices ranging from $4 to $14.  Closest Metro is Dupont Circle or McPherson Square.

The highlight of the menu are The Pig Platters, showcasing house cured meats, house pickles, condiments, local cheese and artisanal breads. Supper plates are also available for those less inclined to share. The diverse menu also features other locally sourced ingredients from organic farms such as: Dragon Creek in Virginia for specialty fish; Irwin Mushrooms in Pennsylvania; Trickling Springs in Pennsylvania for eggs and dairy; and most notably, EatWell DC’s very own EatWell Natural Farm in La Plata, Maryland.

April 2014: To support Dining Out For Life, we headed to The Pig for dinner as they were contributing 25% of each diner's total bill towards the charity.  We had 6pm reservations and were early enough to get a great table by the front windows.  Our server, Kyle, greeted us warmly and gave us his spiel of the menu layout.  He recommended we order 2 - 3 dishes each to share.  But first, we ordered drinks. The Pig features eco-friendly wines, small batch bourbons and craft cocktails.  I chose This Little Piggy - a tropical cocktail made with Pritchard’s Crystal Rum, papaya, pineapple juice, and lime.  I loved the chunks of papaya in it, and this drink was fitting for the lovely Spring weather we finally have in DC.  Keith ordered a Virginian amber lager called Devil's Backbone, which he enjoyed.

Being that plenty of pork was on the menu, we decided to start off with a couple lighter dishes.  First, we shared a salad of Bacon & Burrata.  With maple bacon, arugula, baby chard, roasted grapes, almonds, and a garlic-thyme vinaigrette, this salad was refreshing and very delectable.

Next, we shared the Hamachi Crudo topped with strawberry relish, mint, crushed pea vinaigrette, and sea salt.  The fish was cut nice, however the peas were whole and had a weird taste in my mouth with the herbal combinations.  But that was probably just me, as I am not the biggest fan of peas to begin with.

I really wanted to try the Southern Shawarma, and was surprised by the large portion that arrived.  Keith took one half and I took the other.  This sandwich was very flavorful and ended up being my favorite dish of the night.  The pulled pork was tender and was further 'porkified' with the addition of bacon.  Pimento cheese, fries, and a sweet & sour carrot slaw were also packed into the flatbread to make a great Southern spin on this Turkish sandwich.

As a side dish, we picked the Mac & Cheese that was classically baked with a truffle crust.  The serving size was a little small compared to everything else we received, but we did not mind as we had plenty more dishes to eat.

From the heavier "Pig" side of the menu, we ordered the Berkshire Cheek.  Peach braised tender meat of the pig cheek were topped with smoked peanuts and placed on a bed of mustard greens and grits.  I liked this dish very much too.  The meat was slightly thicker and a more intensely flavored version of the pulled pork from the shawarma.  It was delicious with the creamy grits, and the peanuts gave an extra crunch that contrasted textures nicely throughout the plate.

Our server, Kyle, checked in on us as he knew we ordered a lot of food.  He almost convinced us to skip on the Bratwurst, but Keith really wanted to try the veal & pork sausage along with the warm bacon potato salad.  This German inspired dish was a transition from the other Southern-style dishes we had, but not as much of a standout.  The potato salad did have a nice mustard flavor, and I appreciated the use of thick-cut fingerling potatoes.

Finally, Kyle highly recommended we try the Porchetta Char Siu.  The belly meat is layered with a Chinese barbeque glaze, and then rolled and pan-fried to give a nice charred crust to the fatty meat.  It was sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds and served with black turtle beans in a sauce studded with Chinese five spice to amplify that Asian touch.  The meat was a bit too fatty for my liking, but I did like the glaze and the beans.

Overall, we had a large meal for a decent price that is fit for pork-lovers of all kinds.  Service at The Pig was friendly, expeditious, and professional.  The ambience inside was a bit average, but the location is prime along the bustling 14th Street corridor in Logan Circle.  The Pig would be a good place to go with a larger group.

November 2015:  Keith and I returned to The Pig for dinner before catching a comedy show at nearby Lincoln Theater.  The ambience was just as warm and unpretentious as I remembered with dark moody lighting.  Our server, Ben, was quite jovial and gave us great service the whole night.

For drinks, I started with How Miss Piggy Got Her Groove Back - a lovely mixture of Green Mountain vodka, grapefruit shrub, and white vermouth.  The cocktail was sweet with a nice citrus twist  and slight spice finish.   Keith started with a 16 oz canned red ale, Finch's, Fascist Pig Ale from Illinois. He later switched to a draft IPA from Oregon called Ninkasi, Total Domination.  Both were decent beers that went well with the porky meal.

For starters we ordered the Skillet Cornbread topped with a salty country ham, and served with apple jam and honey butter.  I really enjoyed it.  Keith also wanted the Smoked Mangalista Belly which had been cured 24 hours, smoked 4 hours over cherry wood, and then finished with sea salt.  The thick and fatty slice had great smoky flavor and paired well with the light Erica's Harvest salad with mustard greens, pea tendrils, black radish, turnips, and a light drizzle of citrus vinaigrette.

The starters were delicious, but we were hungry for more.  For a main dish, Keith chose the seasonal Crispy Shank that had been roasted for hours and then fried to create super tender meat that fell off the bone with a crunchy skin.  It came with roasted heirloom carrots, acorn squash puree, and ras el hanout which gave an Asian-like "duck sauce" flavor to the dish.

I chose the Smoked Pork Cheek with farm carrots and benne dumplings in milk stout stew.  It also came with a large beef-stuffed cabbage that I asked to be placed on a separate side plate, and gave to Keith.  The pork had excellent rich smoky flavor.  The meat was thicker than I expected, but I shredded it myself and ate it with some Mac & Cheese, to make an upscale barbeque dinner.

We had another great porky dinner at The Pig and left fully satiated to hold us over the rest of the night.  With so many other restaurants along 14th Street, I am happy to see Chef Bonk still successful in his quest to provide porky deliciousness for all.

Total Rating: 4.33
Food: 4.5, Price: 4, Service: 4.5, Ambience: 3.5, Accessibility: 5
What Micky Eats...

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