2009 did not usher in an era of mirth and prosperity for most people. Let's all face it. We are in an economic recession and mental depression! As everything started to head south: expense accounts, office headcount, 401Ks, salaries, personal net-worth--so, too, followed the collective American psyche, spiraling down into the proverbial dumps. But, misery is a pill, so the nation responds by taking pills, consuming scotch, seeing the latest Judd Apatow in droves, and more than ever, by seeking consolation through comfort food. The richness and satisfaction of a heaping platter of macaroni and cheese can compensate for the deficits that we experience financially and psychologically. The sweetness and warmth of a chocolately, fudge brownie have the power to lift the soul. Comfort food has the tranformative ability to placate the mind and engage the senses, which is why I went to Porchetta with a friend on one doozy of a Friday, hoping to get my spirits up and elevate a very rotten mood.
Perhaps due to my exposure to Southern BBQ during my formative years, or my grandmother's Filipino way in the kitchen, to me pork is synonymous with comfort food. Whether its Lechon (Suckling Pig), Pork Tenderloin, Crispy Pork Belly, Chicharones/Pork Rinds, Pulled Pork, BBQ Spareribs, I'm going to feel pretty good after a plate of that stuff.
I had taken a class at The Brooklyn Kitchen and my instructor was the butcher and chef at Porchetta, so I knew the ingredients would be fresh and local, and the menu well thought out. Everything on the menu has pig somehow integrated into the dish, even the vegetables.
This is what we ordered and shared:
The Porchetta Sandwich
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Crackling, Lemon, Thyme, and Honey
Roasted Potatoes with Burnt Ends
A $5 coke of some kind
Cost: Less than $30
The sides are huge, but the sandwiches are not. What we ordered was adequate for two people (and filling, due to the high fat content of the porchetta), but if you have an appetite, get another sandwich and one side to share. The Porchetta sandwich was simply made of sliced cuts of pork with heavenly hunks of brown crackling on a Ciabatta roll. The pork was succulent and deliciously fatty, and the bread/protein ratio was just about right, not overly starchy at all. My friend thought that the potatoes could have used more seasoning, but I really liked them. They had a nice crisp and the burnt ends of the crispy pork skin provided a savory, counter crunch that was fun. The roasted brussel sprouts were a great accompaniment to the Porchetta, but could have been punched up with a tad more acid. Nevertheless, I gobbled them all up. Overall, I enjoyed the meal, feeling fat, happy, and pleasantly distracted for a brief while .
Food: Porky Delight
Ambiance: Tiny, Clean and Cute
Service: Friendly. Helpful when asked for hot sauce.
Price: Sorta pricey for a take-out place
Verdict: Comforting. I'd go again on a Sunday afternoon.
110 7th Street between Avenue A and 1st Ave