Porchetta in E. Village
Has anyone been yet? Thoughts?
It reminds me of a place we went to everyday on a recent trip to Italy.
It's a simple porchetta shop that is more of a take-out place than a sit down restaurant. The menu is basically the porchetta sandwich (a lovely ciabatta roll from Sullivan St. Bakery filled with juicy lean pork with a touch of cracklings), a porchetta platter (porchetta with a side of greens and beans) and a few vegetable sides.
I tried their sandwich and I found it to be tasty but pricey ($9.75, including tax) for what I got. I didn't try their biscotti since I know that Abraco's just a half block away and pick up their addictive olive cured cookie.
For photos and my review, please follow the link:
We went by very late in the afternoon on Saturday, but they had run out of pork by then. The owner was very nice and gave us free biscotti as a consolation.
Since I couldn't celebrate Rosh Hashanah as I traditionally do at the Feast of San Gennaro (sorry-but I never went to Hebrew School), I stoped in at Porchetta. sarah jenkins of I Coppi, Il Buco and 50 Carmine Street fame is a genius. The porchetta was superb, garlicy with herbs and crackling and despite reports to the contrary mine was about 3 inches thick. The potatoes with burnt ends were sublime and I had complementary bruschetta with eggplant. Pure porky heaven. As good as a Tony like's Roast Pork Italian sandwich. I'm trying to convince them to add some Joe's mozzarella (which they offer as a separate sandwich) to the pork but apparently "real" Italians wouldn't do that though they said if I ordered one of each and combined them they wouldn't have me arrested.
I went there for the first time on Saturday Oct. 11th. AND they had run out of bread! (It was about 3:30 PM). When I inquired whether they were getting more bread, the young lady behind the counter with a valley lilt to her voice said "I don't know when he's coming back." It was odd, particularly since I would think the person getting the bread might have a cell phone and could be contacted. So, I ordered the platter instead. $13. I asked the valley girl if she needed my name or if there was some kind of ticket she would give me with a number on it so I could be called from outside (where I intended to wait since the inside is small, and it was crowded with others waiting). She said "no, we don't do anything like that. I'll just yell when your order was ready". I was very suspicious of that since there were so many others waiting, how would any of us know whose was ready? It all seemed VERY disorganized.
It was a beautiful day, so I waited patiently outside with some other hungry customers. The first 6 or 7 times the valley girl called out that an order was ready was easy for me. They were all sandwiches. (I assume they had just enough bread for those orders, and had run out just before I got there.) Then the trouble began. She called out "platter to go?" And of course, just as I had suspected, none of us had any idea who was there first. It was chaotic. And being an organized person, it certainly did not ease my irritation. I thought "perhaps they REALLY wanted this to be an italian experience!". Someone that I knew had come after me tried to nab a "platter to go" and I politely said that I was there before. I was so happy to be out of that situation. I walked to the park nearby on Avenue A and sat down to finally eat my prize. It was good. Not great. The meat was flavorful, but some of the 'cracklings" were chewy and rubbery and not crisp. There were some pieces of pork that were extremely fatty. And too much salt. I felt that the salt almost overpowered the pork. The greens were good, as were the beans. I would like to go back when they have bread and try the sandwich. But perhaps I need to go on a weekday to avoid the chaos.
It would be so simple for them to implement a system where they would know which order that was ready belonged to which customer. Not to mention ordering enough bread for the day. With those prices, what is the big deal if they over order bread and have to feed the pigeons in the park with what's left at the end of the day? It's like McDonald's running out of french fries. It's just "wrong".
"Lean" was not my experience at all of this meat. It was mostly fatty, and the "cracklings," if that's what they were, were pretty much inedible--big hunks of bone in my sandwich. I could have easily broken a tooth, but after I found the first one, I picked through the rest of the sandwich to pull out the other pieces of bone. The meat had a good flavor but was very salty. The Sullivan St. ciabatta was definitely the best part of the experience.