110 East Seventh Street (First Avenue)
See my post with pictures (and a very few words) here.
They beckon from the counter in their Henny Penny warmer, with their come-hither glisten and porcine perfume. Pork loin wrapped in pork belly with fennel pollen, garlic, sage, rosemary and fistfuls of salt and pepper, roasted for five hours in a combi oven that has locked in their moisture.
Wanting nothing but slicing onto Sullivan Street Bakery rolls, these bundles have been known to make sandwich-lovers swoon.
The chef, Sara Jenkins, is already saying she’ll become bored with this strict pork diet, and in the weeks she’s been open, she’s experimented with expanding her eight-item menu, running specials like parsnip soup.
But patrons of her tiny East Village shop won’t be fatigued by its namesake. The porchetta is too multifaceted all by itself. In central Italy, where the dish originated, they roast the entire pig.
Here, it only tastes as if you’re eating the whole Hampshire beast. Tender loin mingles with dark-streaked belly and bits of skin, which are as tacky as taffy on one side and so crunchy on the other that they pose a chewing hazard. It’s a texture adventure.
The sweet yin of the pollen and the yang of the salt simply boost its natural flavor.
This is a small sandwich for $9, but the pork is so extravagant, it’s just big enough. If you must make a pig of yourself, get a side of potatoes ($5); they’re crisped in a roasting pan with leftover bits of the good stuff.
The New York Times, October 29, 2008