I usually try to avoid restaurants with buzz or joints that once had buzz but now cater to the B&T crowd. But The Spotted Pig was just too tempting to pass by. And I am very, very happy that I gave in to the temptation. The place was a bit surprising-looking. I was expecting a more elegant space, but it looked like a typical neighborhood bar. And of course, that’s where we ate, at the bar. The tables, except for one booth (and, probably, the upstairs, which was closed for renovations), are all small and looked uncomfortable. But the bar…ah, the bar. We snagged the corner, so the three of us could chat and share bites (I was accused, fairly, of not sharing). The bartender was attentive, seemed to know the food, and mixed what looked like an excellent vodka & tonic. Unfortunately, we stuck to beer, so I was unable to verify my suspicions. Rest assured, I will remedy my ignorance as soon as possible. They have a few beers on tap, including two cask ales, one of which we tried, but we did not like it as much as the Brooklyn Brewery Local 1. They also offer a nice, albeit small, selection of bottled beers. But on to the food!
We started with some deviled eggs and chicken liver toast. The deviled eggs were very good, but how exciting can they be? The chicken livers are another story. Fantastic! The best! Even better than my grandmother’s chicken livers. They were incredibly rich, with a great texture — almost smooth, but with the barest hint of chunkiness. My only complaint is that the toast was not quite crispy. But I would order this dish again, and again.
Our main courses were tough to pick, and one of my fellow diners made a tactical error, which she realized immediately. A Cuban sandwich may be a good idea, and The Spotted Pig executed it well, but the dish can be had in thousands of places, and many of them will do a great job of it. To make up for this lapse in judgment, she also had “sheep’s ricotta gnudi with brown butter & sage.” I really have no idea what it was, other than an absolutely delicious concoction of cheese and butter stuffed into something that reminded me a bit of gnocchi. Whatever it was, order it. We also had a prosciutto and ricotta tart that was very good, but not exciting. I had an excellent cheeseburger with shoestring potatoes. It was perfectly cooked (and rather large), with a nice portion of Roquefort on top. The cheese was sharp and salty, and they didn’t overseason the burger, so the flavors meshed well. This was a quality job. I judge restaurants by a few things, one of which is the burger situation, and I heartily approve of The Spotted Pig’s.
This place is a keeper, although I have been told that it is a madhouse for dinner. So go, preferably for lunch, but be prepared to wait for dinner.