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Jinmyo

The Spotted Pig

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The sauteed veal kidneys that April Bloomfield serves are the best I have had. Simply prepared, tender, great flavor.

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I was there yesterday for lunch. Mostly empty at 1:15. It was a disaster of such epic proportions I wouldn't have been surprised to find it was an elaborate prank.

It was the bartender's (who was also the only waitstaff) first day. She couldn't have gotten more things wrong if she had poured beer on the register. Sitting at the bar you unfortunately hear about it all. One lady got overcharged $50 on her credit card; the guy next to me at the bar ordered his burger the same time as mine. It took about 20 minutes for my burger to show up, and i finished mine before he got his. The busboy brings him a bowl of icecream on the house... but he still hadn't gotten his burger (she didn't enter it in the system right or something).

I paid my check and he was still waiting; another annoyed guy basically threw a wad of money at her and left in a huff because he waited so long for the check. She had no idea how to use the computer, just stared the screen. I felt bad for her for a while but it just got rediculous. It wasn't all her fault. The place wasn't busy at all and it shouldn't have taken so long to do a medium rare burger, right?

But it was mostly her fault.

I didn't even really want the burger but it was the only thing on the menu under $17. It was okay but it's topped with roquefort cheese which kind of overpowered it. The shoestring fries were good but not easy to eat (a big tangle of potato steel wool). They played good music, though.

I'm sure this isn't indicative of The Spotted Pig and would love to try some of the other items on the menu (the gnudi and the stuff above sounds very good) but I had to share one of the oddest restaurant experiences I've ever had.


"If it's me and your granny on bongos, then it's a Fall gig'' -- Mark E. Smith

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Jay Rayner holds forth in The Observer:

How to create a modern, urban gastro-pub. Step one: first take your scuzzy pub; your broken down, sticky carpeted, fag-burnt old boozer which last saw better days around the same time as George Best's liver. Because, however negotiable the gastro element may be, the pub bit isn't. . . . Which was why I was deeply suspicious of the Spotted Pig, a recently opened 'British gastro-pub' in the heart of Greenwich Village.

+ + +

It was when I got to my thick chargrilled burger, served on a crisp bun with a slab of Roquefort on top and a side of shoestring potatoes, mixed with shards of crisp, fried garlic and rosemary, that it occurred to me: I had to stop sneering. It didn't matter what the building had once been. This menu, with its confident eclecticism, its generous devil-may-care approach to plating and delivery, was exactly what you would expect to find in a British gastro-pub.


--

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I had dinner with friends there on christmas eve. The braised oxtails were unctuous in the best sense of the word which I have never felt compelled to use before, and beyond delicious. My favorite part of a wonderful meal. We also enjoyed the risotto balls though thats not what they were called. I can't remember what their name is on the menu. One of us had the steak; another fluke with cauliflower and I had pork and fennel sausage over pumpkin polenta. I was completely satisfied and happy after the meal which ended with the almost flourless chocolate cake and coffee served in a french press. I can't wait to go back. I loved the atmosphere as much as the food. Exposed brick and windows looking out onto a street scene that looks much as i imagine it did 100 years ago. The service was friendly informative and casual.

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I agree, very little pretention, very nice well prepared food. great dining room. this is the way and upscale neighborhood joint should be. really, I would eat there every day if I could afford it. no gnudi? I've ahd the gnudi a few times and have found them to be delightful. almost like goat cheese filled gnocchi (big ones) adn light (tasting) thought the brown butter is never very brown butter like (my sister says it more brown butterish in the evening...hmmm.

anyways I likes. :cool:


does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

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I agree, very little pretention, very nice well prepared food. great dining room. this is the way and upscale neighborhood joint should be. really, I would eat there every day if I could afford it. no gnudi? I've ahd the gnudi a few times and have found them to be delightful. almost like goat cheese filled gnocchi (big ones) adn light (tasting) thought the brown butter is never very brown butter like (my sister says it more brown butterish in the evening...hmmm.

anyways I likes. :cool:

Interesting...What is the address, price range of this place?

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Spotted Pig

314 West 11th Street (at Greenwich Street) faaaar West Village

212-620-0393

Average main course $15, per TONY

The only time I ate anything there was nibbles at the publication party for Fergus Henderson's book, so I can't really comment on the food (hors d' were quite good, though). But it looked like a comfy place.

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So, are there any new observations about this place upon its first birthday? Saw the article in the Post this weekend and it sounds as if it is already a scenester place, even as the menu has held up over time.

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I haven't managed to make it there, but my sister has found that one CAN get a table sometimes at odd hours, and positively raves over the gnudi, as well as giving the place an A.

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We ate there and had a great Skirt Steak. Burgers looked excellent too.


=Mark

Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

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I went there this weekend with a group of six. It was crowded, and the hostess told us it would be over an hour perhaps more for a table. After an hour, we asked her about the table, and she snapped at us. 'I told you it could be two hours.' Then she just walked away. AFter another 30 minutes, one of us pointed out that if she kept seating all of the smaller tables she would not get room for a six. Then she said something like "there's no chance you're going to get a table for six."

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I bagged one of the first available tables last night for an early dinner at the Spotted Pig. I was glad I turned up in good time as the place was packed by around 6.00pm and queues were begining to form.

Poached lambs tounge with lentils, horseradish cream and salsa verde was a terrific plate of food - tender delicate offal, punchy dressings with the lentils adding a satisfyingly earthy note. A main of veal kidney with bubble and squeak and mustard sauce was another winner although the kidney was a little on the pink side for my liking and there was just too much food on the plate (the Spotted Pig are not alone in this - a main course of fresh bacon at Gramery Tavern was huge).

Banoffee pie may have been included on the dessert menu as some sort of post modernist in-joke, but it was a seriously good version of the comforting classic, with fine pastry and a nicely balanced not-too-sweet filling.

Batali's name has focused a great deal of attention on the pub and drawn the masses (including myself) from far and wide, but that really isn't the point. It seems to me that The Spotted Pig has been designed as a local for the good people of Greenwich, a point of focus for the local community. Once the crowds have died away (if they ever do), maybe that's what it will become.

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Andy,

Do you think it was designed as a local place.. Or do you think that because of the name recognition of Mario, he opened a place on an obscure area of a street where the rent would be cheaper, but still draw a crowd?


Edited by Daniel (log)

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It feel very much like a true local corner pub to me, and due to its size and style, I think it would be happiest serving that community. The reality is that its something of a novelty for NY, it's in the Time Out Top 100 and its being forced to caterer for the foodie crowd (of which I am one of course). I think the place has real heart and soul and the Mario connection is something of a red herring.

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It's also catering to the giant mobs of bridge-and-tunnel tourists in search of celebrities in the New Meatpacking District on Friday and Saturday nights. (And to the actual celebrities they're looking for, on Thursdays and Sundays.) I completely agree that it would be at its best as a really laid-back neighborhood pub, especially in the winter when it's so cozy and English and has such tasty hand-cask ale...maybe it'll mellow into that.

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I don't know when the upstairs opens or when the downstairs menu is going to expand, but I couldn't wait any longer to try the recently reopened Spotted Pig and went with my girlfriend after last Thursday's Kanye West concert, getting there around 11pm. Method Man and Notorious BIG were pumping out the stereo over the din of an incredibly lively and completely packed room with a few notable locals that give it the tavern atmosphere of the Canterbury Tales if they had been written by Tom Wolfe. After a short wait for a table, "one star Mario" and "one star Kenny" as they referred to themselves made their presence known and both seemed either very pleased or very amused by their Michelin rating.

The menu is still abbreviated on the ground floor, too sparse to choose a worthwhile appetizer and entree and some of the more offal-inclined dishes that are listed on their website aren't there anymore, but the roast pumpkin salad and the roquefort burger were there and were as good as ever and arrived in only a few minutes. By contrast in the fifteen minutes we waited at the bar for a table, we could never get the admirably tireless but still neglectful bartender's attention. The dessert menu had all the offerings from the past and the ginger cake with vanilla cream arrived warm, moist and very rich.

I can't tell or imagine what if any ground floor renovations were done, so if you liked it before it hasn't changed and if you didn't, there are likely Michelin guide readers ready to fill any empty seats.

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I have found a precedent for the SP's star....the Star Inn in the UK is a Michelin-starred gastropub. No clue how the food compares.

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Gastro Chic New York City Entry #107 Spotted Pig

One of shocks to the Gotham culinary mind was the awarding of a Michelin star to New York's first - and perhaps only - "gastropub." Here was the cute little Spotted Pig in Babbo's rarified company (Chef Batali is reported to be a silent partner at the Pig, along with Ken Friedman and London Chef April Bloomfield). There was no doubt that the Pig was a convivial neighborly place, but could a saloon be anointed for its haute cuisine?

It is said that there is no accounting for fashion, and somehow the Pig has transcended its West Village neighborhood to become a "phenomenon." When we arrived at 6:00, the bar had a pleasant Cheers-like feel; by the time we left, two hours later, we had to push our way to the exit, and the night was still in its infancy - a good six hours left to play. Indeed, arriving in time for the Senior's Discount, we missed the true Pig experience.

With its wood floors, exposed brick, and inviting bar, the Spotted Pig (which last year expanded to a second floor) is homey, if in a somewhat generic way. Emptied of customers, one would have no idea that this space will become the center of the downtown universe. The staff, as befits a generous community center, moved with verve and humor. Whether their joy derives from images of tips to come or from the pleasure of being a part of a happening is hard to tell, perhaps both.

The menu, beginning with such bar routines as Chicken Liver Toast, Marinated Olives, Pickles, Roasted Almonds, and Duck Egg, suggests modest satisfactions. However, further reading suggests Chef Bloomfield's ambitions. Having six entrees and desserts and ten appetizers the kitchen is not overtaxed. With its signature chargrilled burger and ricotta gnudi with pesto, the dishes avoid the fussy or challenging. Whether the Pig used to indulge in "modern English cuisine," the British influence is muted; the menu has a vaguely Italianate feel with its Mozzarella with Fava Bean Bruschetta; Gnudi; Pork Tonnata; and Squid and Fennel.

Despite the odds, the Spotted Pig provides early diners pleasure. We began with a pair of appetizers, Radish Salad with Parmesan and Arugula and an order of Sheep's Ricotta Gnudi with Pesto (a cross between gnocchi and ravioli).

The Salad was the star of the evening, one of the most potent salads that I have ordered. Radish are a vegetable less often seen in Manhattan than durian, but I recall it fondly from my childhood, sharing a chilled bowl with my radish-relishing dad. The parmesan cut some of the bitter edge of the radish. It was both gentle on the eyes and zippy on the tongue.

The Gnudi did not live up to its billing as a key offering. I found the gnocchi blanketed by a salty sauce and rather mushy dumplings. It was rich and filling, but not of star quality.

We shared an entree, Pot Roast Rabbit with Green Garlic. The dish was unpretentious but compelling. This is not complex cuisine, but is undeniably well-made. The garlic-based sauce did not overwhelm the pieces of hare, but bolstered its rural charm. This dish, like the others tasted, didn't require extensive culinary acumen, but it evoked a blessed moment before cuisine became finicky (repeat in unison, "what splendid food in a pub!"). With our entree we chose two sides: the Pig's famous Shoestring Fries with Rosemary, as delicious as it was impossible to eat daintily. Bits of spud flew everywhere. Thank goodness this is a pub where no one examines the floor. The heirloom beans were stewed, passable with a subtlety of color, even if the tastes were indistinct.

Dessert was what the Pig labels Banoffee: Banana-Toffee Tart. What a sweet tart: luscious and sugary with strong flavors of ban and offee. A Sundae pie for those who take their calories straight up.

The Spotted Pig works nicely as a modest restaurant that is both joyous and serious, but of course it is more. The Pig combines community center, dating bar, tavern, and nosherie. That the kitchen has ambitions makes it a dining destination for the beau monde. Whether this tiny, crushed, and charming pub can shuffle its audiences is for time to sort. Today this piglet is a spot of alright.

The Spotted Pig

314 W. 11th Street (at Greenwich St.)

Manhattan (Greenwich Village)

212-620-0393

Images of the meal available at:

My Webpage: Veal Cheeks

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gallery_15057_2971_57993.jpg

We arrived right shortly after they opened at 11 am yesterday morning.. I ordered the Roquefort Burger my girl the Cubano.. For some reason the Cuban Sandwich has a 15 minute prep time.. So while we waited for the sandwiches we decided to try the chicken liver toast..

This was as good a version as I have ever had.. Hot chicken liver on toasted bread with the olive oil pour at the end.. Just fantastic..

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Burger was good to very good.. I like a char on my burger and am not sure it was grilled at a high enough temperature.. This almost had a baked and loafy feel to it.. However, the bun was toasted and buttered, and the Roquefort was just such a great cheese.. It went so well with the burger. Often times I dont think a restaurant takes the time to really research the blue they are using.. But, an important decision like this one was probably labored over by someone.. We also ordered a bloody mary and were really impressed with the pickled vegetables they served with it. You could tell that they pickle these vegetables in house.. The fries I have an issue with.. I dont think these littly wimpy strands stand up to a burger of that proportion.. It might go better with a fish dish that has a broth with it.. Where the fries wouldnt get soggy, but would be more managable on a fork.. The rosemary was a nice touch and added a lot of flavor..

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The Cuban was a really porky,cheesy, pickle-E sandwich.. I mean whats not to love about this sandwich, Proscuitto, amazing Roast Pork, cornichons for the pickles, and the cheese was either a Gruyere or Fontina i think.. This was a very good sandwich.. I still dont understand why people need to call any sandwich with pork and pickles a Cuban Sandwich.. Whatever it is, its a fine pork sandwich..

gallery_15057_2971_46596.jpg

I am looking forward to trying dinner here..


Edited by Daniel (log)

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Just my two cents -- I have eaten here 4 times as of yesterday (I live two blocks away) and have come to the conclusion that I hate this place. It is certainly not for neighborhood dwellers -- it is really very specifically intended as a "destination" despite it's earthy decor which is mostly inherited. The food is good, IMO, though not stellar or consistently so -- for instance, at brunch, our duck egg salad with endive, (good) pancetta and mustardy vinagrette was overly simple and served ice-cold. I like the gnudi too and the ginger cake but not much here seems better than decent home cooking. On the other hand, the attitude is beyond off-putting. Quite simply, they hate children here -- automatically herd you upstairs if you have the nerve to bring one, even if the downstairs is utterly empty. And then they seat you at the worst table upstairs! This has happened to us twice (my daughter is lovely, seven and far more well-mannered than most 30-something adults I hear yapping in cell-phones from 3 booths away. She is a welcomed regular at a variety of sophisticated NYC restaurants -- sounds absurd, I know, but my point is that no place should make you that defensive.) And we saw it happen to the only other couple who dared to bring a child there -- on a weekend, at noon. Our last waitress was quite pleasant and attentive, but the "hostess" makes a big hostile point of not interacting which made me regret walking in there. She made us ask for a table, even though the place had already opened and was empty. I want to like this place because it's so convenient for us and I tend to love the kind of cooking they aspire to, but a few winning dishes among as many near-misses do not compensate for the general vibe of narcissistic incompetence or their policy of ghettoizing patrons who don't fit some kind of predetermined demographic.

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its a hard place to like and a hard place to hate.

I live four blocks away. I don't mind it so much during the week...but on the weekends only find it tolerable late (after 1 a.m.).

the staff can be quite rude...although if they know you're from the neighborhood they're much nicer...(I think the problem is their general annoyance with the heavily B&T/Eurotrash/tourist crowd....this is, after all, one of the few places where starf____ers go that actually has real celebs consistently)

I've generally found bar dining to be much more comfortable there....the savory items tend to be quite good and hearty. but, if it wasn't the best late-night food option in the area (Pastis is even more aggravating)...I'd probably never eat there.

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