NYC — Summer 2015: The Spotted Pig

Monday, September 14, 2015
On Wednesday, my mom and I took the subway down to West Village for lunch at The Spotted Pig. I've been wanting to try this place for some time, since it's gotten so many rave reviews over the last decade (chef April Bloomfield holds a Michelin Star for both The Spotted Pig and The Breslin, where we went to a couple years ago). It's one of those places that you have to actively seek out or walk into randomly because it doesn't look like much on the outside; you can walk by it and not even realize you passed it. It's a small two-storey, 100-seat gastropub that is charmingly rustic and jam-packed with whimsical tchotchkes that provides a very cozy, casual atmosphere. As for the food, you can expect modern twists on classic pub dishes but made with quality, local ingredients.

Cubano Sandwich

We were informed by the host upon being seated that their signature roquefort cheeseburger was "sold out," even though we had arrived at 12:30 — only 30 minutes after their lunch service starts. It was especially disappointing when we saw the three people at the table beside us each having a cheeseburger in front of them. But not to be deterred, we ordered the Cubano sandwich instead. It doesn't look like much and the plating leaves something to be desired, but it is wildly delicious. The name is somewhat misleading since it's not made with ham and Swiss (two main components of a Cuban), but I am not complaining because a damn good sandwich is a damn good sandwich. In between a toasted ciabatta bun is the aforementioned Gruyere with sweet pickled jalapeño peppers, cornichon pickles, mustard relish, smoky prosciutto, and super-tender, super-flavourful pork (which is apparently brined for five days and then cooked in pork and duck fat). So no, it’s not a Cuban, but it’s a sandwich that other sandwiches should aspire to be.

Sheep's Milk Ricotta Gnudi

Wanting to try a non-sandwich item (we had been debating over the grilled cheese, but an $18 grilled cheese was just a bit too steep for us), my mom and I ultimately decided on the sheep's milk ricotta gnudi, which our server whole-heartedly recommended. What is a gnudi, you ask? As Jamie Oliver explains, "Gnudi means naked, and quite simply this is a ricotta ravioli without the pasta (a.k.a. naked)." I thought it was more akin to gnocchi, but whereas gnocchi is made with potato and is much denser, gnudi is far lighter, made with less flour, and is filled. Apparently, it's been around for decades, but the version at The Spotted Pig has made this dish most famous in recent times, and for good reason. The gnudi here is stuffed with sheep's milk ricotta, making them pillowy light and soft, sitting in a shallow pool of creamy butter sauce and served with basil pesto on top. I think what's most surprising is the texture, because you don't expect them to be so delicate. It's probably the most elegant comfort food I've ever come across, and I can see people making repeat visits to The Spotted Pig for this dish alone. I mean, really, who cares about the roquefort burger when you can get these instead?

The Spotted Pig
314 W 11th Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 620-0393
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