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First off, much respect goes out to Ken Friedman who owns The Spotted Pig. Dude worked in the music biz for years before venturing into the culinary world and we obviously applaud the marriage of music and food. The fact that Bono, Trent Reznor, and Courtney Love are all listed as investors is awesome. Friedman’s landlord, Jay-Z, can now add the 173-year-old building that houses The Spotted Pig to his resume of timeless classics which already include Infatuation favorites Reasonable Doubt and The Black Album. Jigga decided to buy the place and renovate, adding more dining/bar space on the second floor and an exclusive third floor room where he and his crew can dine in peace, away from the riff-raff.
Appearing in Page Six on a regular basis and having a lively bar scene has led The Spotted Pig to become one of New York’s most infamous eateries. Don’t be fooled by the hype on the food though – this is next level gastro-pub fare, not fine dining. The food isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, but you’re coming here for the scene first, food second. Although The Spotted Pig is only five years old, the interior space properly reflects its vintage home. Sporting plaid booths and an overabundance of pork related paraphernalia, the space has a real old New York feel to it. The Spotted Pig doesn’t take reservations, so be prepared to commit at least an hour to wait for your table. Hopefully you’ve got money to spend at the bar while you wait. The Spotted Pig is ideal for evenings where you’re looking to mix it up, throw a couple down, and see where the night takes you.
Devils on Horseback
Props to any establishment that serves DOH, a funky British appetizer served hot. These bacon wrapped prunes are filled with mango chutney and come blazing out of the oven straight onto your table. An argument can be made that Freemans’ are better but, these are still pretty damn good.
Squid can be quite a delicacy, so don’t be scared to order these mollusks. Usually boasting a similar consistency to shrimp but, a little tougher, this squid is quite tender and juicy. The cilantro butter and fennel it’s prepared with offer a tasty zest.
Sea Bream Ceviche & Grapefruit
Sea bream is a versatile Mediterranean fish similar to sea bass, and this dish is simple and well executed. The slices of fish and grapefruit look identical, so you won’t know what you’re about to eat until you taste it.
Bath Chap with Wild Mushrooms
You know what Bath chap is? Good, I don’t either. Let’s get educated. Bath chap is pig cheek that’s been boned, brained, cooked, cooled, and molded into a cone shape. It’s got the appearance of a sausage and tastes like extra rich pork. Personally, I won’t be ordering this again, but the rest of the table really enjoyed it. Too rich for my tastes.
Grilled Skirt Steak
The last two times I’ve been to the Pig they’ve been out of their trademark crispy pork belly which is not cool. Sans belly, we decided to give the skirt steak a go on our last visit. Served with a nice horseradish cream, this isn’t a bad piece of meat. But, at almost $30 it’s just not worth it. I’d rather pay $10 less, and get twice as much skirt steak at Cafe Cortadito in the East Village.
Burger with Roquefort Cheese and Shoestring Fries
Pushing upwards of 250 $17 burgers a night, rumor has it that this is the single most profitable dish in NYC. The Spotted Pig gets a ton of attention for their patties and rightfully so. This burger is on point. This hearty piece of meat is an ideal size, allowing you to take it down and still be able to function afterwards. Also, the shoestring fries are awesome. My one complaint is the salt factor. Both the burger and the fries are extremely salty, so much so that you’re still parched the next morning. I’m not into blue cheese, so I personally order mine sans Roquefort.