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Reservations Recommended

Restaurant Review ~ The Pig / 1320 14th St., NW

 

Little guesswork about this restaurant’s menu: For a place called The Pig, pork in all its glory is the superstar here. Items like pig’s ears, pig’s heart, and pig’s belly play their culinary role. But if that sounds too, well, awkward, rest assured the chef and staff offer more familiar piggy parts, such as the shank and the cheek. And of course, cuts of pork converted into sausages, pulled pork, and even scrapple and meatballs should beckon the slightly faint of gastronomic heart.

But just to assure anyone in the dining public who doesn’t get it, The Pig, a Logan Circle newcomer, is one hot meal ticket! Chef de cuisine Garret Fleming, who has cooked around town at other well-liked eateries, takes charge of this porcine-oriented kitchen, coming up with truly outstanding fare, priced so that no dish here will break the budget.

Already two entrées stand out in food memory for their glorious take on the pig’s succulence and flavor. If you are a Southern kind of person, try out the braised cheek (cut from the plump part of the head) served in a mildly spicy sauce atop textured stone-ground grits. The contrast between the fork-tender and juicy meat and the crunch grits is memorable.

On the other hand, the kitchen’s take on wild boar ragu, with chunks of memorably seasoned pork tossed with fresh wide pappardelle noodles, will appeal to the Italian side of your taste buds. The deep-brown sauce looks similar to what topped the cheeks, but the flavor is more winey with a hint of ground pecorino cheese.

Of course, be sure to ask for the biscuit platter when you sit down. What one table received was a piled-up platter with biscuits that came with a variety of spreadable toppings, and this is when the sense that you are sitting in pig heaven starts. You may also want to kick off your pig-like meal with one or several appetizers, from shaved Brussels sprouts and crispy pig’s ears to a charred Caesar salad made with a duck’s egg.

And if pork is not your idea of a grand meat —- though why else you would sit down in a restaurant called The Pig is anyone’s guess —- you can opt for oysters, duck confit hash, and a vegetarian chickpea hash. Sides include another take on Brussels sprouts, roasted beet greens, and a mac n’ cheese with a truffle crust. And if you have a group, you may want to just focus on of the two sizes of the pig platters with cured meats, bread, and pickles.

Looking for a sweet ending turns up something called a pig sundae with crème fraîche ice cream, and other choices, including a sticky toffee pudding and a chocolate fudge cake. Sadly, the cake looked like all butter, but did not have the smooth, dense texture of pure fudge.

Fortunately, city folks can drop by for weekend brunches, a Friday lunch, (lunch is expected to become a daily feature sometime in the coming weeks), a boozy happy hour, and dinner nightly. Even better, this is a truly neighborhood spot that is so casual you could probably drop by in your jammies and feel welcomed. Well, maybe not that casual.

The Pig / Lunch, Mon.-Fri. 12noon-4pm; Dinner, Sun.-Wed. 5-10:30pm, Thu. to 11pm, Sat. & Sun. to 11:30pm; Brunch, Sat., Sun. & holidays 11am-3pm. Lunch entrée price range, $10-$16; lunch & dinner  pig platters, $19-$38. 1320 14th St., NW; 202-290-2821; www.thepigdc.com.

 

Alexandra Greeley is a food writer, editor, and restaurant reviewer. She has authored books on Asian and Mexican cuisines published by Simon & Schuster, Doubleday, and Macmillan. Other credits include restaurant reviews and food articles for national and regional publications, as well as former editor of the Vegetarian Times and former food editor/writer for the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. Click here to visit her website.