I have frequently maintained that this blog is not a food blog, even though the poll results on the right seem to indicate otherwise. I do, however, know some food bloggers, and we, along with some of our non-blogging friends, set out to tackle the whole suckling pig dinner at the Breslin.
The only large format feast I've done before was the fried chicken at Momofuku. Even though that's pretty gluttonous, that meal has nothing on this one. We originally had 10 people, but one had to cancel late, and so the 9 of us attempted to eat food that they had prepared for 10.
We start with two large platters of Caesar salad with anchovy dressing. A wonderful way to start. The fried herbs on top were crunchy and tasty, the lettuce was fresh and crisp, and the dressing had plenty of flavor. In fact, there was almost too much anchovy flavor in the dressing. I would have preferred more cheese and to have the leaves cut up ahead of time, but those are personal preferences.
The sides were the next things to hit the table, with a large bowl of each side on each end of our long table. These duck fat roasted potatoes were probably the highlight of the sides. Perfectly crispy and full of flavor on the outside, while soft and creamy on the inside.
There was also roasted fennel, which was good but not as spectacular.
The broccoli rabe was also terrific. Deliciously tender and flavorful. Everyone was kind enough to let me take the leftover vegetables and salad home, and they were still just as yummy and satisfying the next day.
The prized whole roasted suckling pig in all its glory. This was served with a red salsa that had a wonderful, slightly smoky tomato flavor, and a chimichurri that was way too herby for me.
As they make the first cut into the beast, smoke comes out. The practiced server skillfully cut up the pig, setting aside the inedible parts and working to give us all a bit of everything in the first serving. Belly (bacon), crispy skin, loin, shoulder, and rump meat.
The skin was crisp, the meat was moist and flavorful. Much of the fat was rendered and did not give off a greasy feeling at all. This was just delicious pork in all its simple glory.
We continued to completely devour the pig, tearing meat from the rump, breaking off the ribs, breaking off the ear, and cutting off the snout. However, it was not until very close to the end that we really dug into the best meat on the pig. What is the best meat on the pig, you may ask? The pork neck, in my opinion. Pork neck meat is something that I've enjoyed very much ever since discovering it in Thai food, and it did not disappoint here. Just a perfect mix of flavor, tender meat, and fat, with a slightly gelatinous texture that I love.
We ate so much of the pig that there wasn't any real meat to take home as leftovers, but that didn't stop us from digging in to dessert as well. The bittersweet chocolate tart was delightfully rich, with a good crust and enhanced by the light sprinkling of salt on top.
The tart also came with some solid vanilla ice cream. By the way, I had seconds of the ice cream and tart.
The cost per person is $65 plus 20% gratuity. I thought it was a very good price for a lot of good, if simple, food. I did eat more than everyone else, however, and we did split a 10-person preparation amongst 9 people. It's also the only way to get a reservation at one of the more popular gastropubs in the city, so it has that going for it as well. In all, I had a wonderful time and think it's a great way for a bunch of food lovers to get together and just pig out.
A large part of what made the meal so enjoyable was the wonderful company at the dinner table. Many thanks to Chubby Chinese Girl for organizing everything. Other blogs that were present included Bionic Bites, Donuts4Dinner, and Gypsy-Addie's Food Diary. All their blogs have been added to my blogroll on the right, and I am looking forward to their takes on the dinner and I expect that they have much better photos than mine. If any other food enthusiasts/bloggers are interested in doing any other large format feasts, feel free to leave a comment.