Chargrilled burger with Roquefort cheese and shoestring fries (and a pint of cask-conditioned bitter).
THE SPOTTED PIG: 314 W 11TH ST., NEW YORK CITY
It is with trepidation that I write this post as I realize the LBC is continuing to veer somewhat from the original purpose of this blog.
However, while showing relatives from San Diego a little of New York on Saturday, we stopped in at the Spotted Pig, a “gastropub” in the West Village and with a camera in-hand, I decided I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
For some time now I have been reading about their legendary Roquefort burger. Having finally had the chance to experience it firsthand, I will report: it is worth the hype.
After reading Frank Bruni’s highly entertaining New York Times slam..err..review, I was expecting the worst in terms of wait time and table service. He gives it one star, which I think is a little unfair and there is quite a bit of Internet controversy over this review which is now two-years old. Principal owner Ken Friedman retorts that one is also the number of Michelin stars his restaurant possesses.
In any case, the reasonable 30-minute wait for brunch was made much easier by the fact the upstairs bar serves two different cask ales. During my visit they were pulling the Spotted Pig Bitter and a brown ale. Both were excellent, served only slightly chilled and in English-style pint mugs. It has been a very long time since I’ve had a real cask-conditioned ale at a pub and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I really didn’t have to spend much time with the menu as I knew exactly what I was looking for.
And when the burger arrived, in a bun glossy with brushed butter, topped high with Roquefort cheese, and sitting next to a ridiculous pile of super-thin shoestring fries, I knew dragging somewhat reluctant, thin-blooded Californians down here in 26-degree weather was worth it.
The burger is, as you would expect: awesome. At medium-rare, it is requisitely juicy and flavorful, topped with the salty cheese and the fantastic bun.
But the fries…oh, the fries…I am not sure they could be any thinner. This is a dramatic departure from your standard French fry’s ratio of surface area to interior potato thus allowing for a great deal more oil penetration. I think this is what we are going for here, ultra-crisp seasoned fries. Exceptional.
It should also be noted they are tossed with a great deal of whole rosemary leaves and thin, fried slices of garlic gloves which add a brilliant kick of flavor.
Now fully satisfied with my meal and still running off of a little caffeine-high from a couple espresso drinks at Cafe Grumpy, I was fully prepared to endure the cold…and the trip to some fabric store that apparently has something to do with Project Runway…
P.S. I promise to get something up here other than cheeseburgers very soon, but as you can tell, they are my weakness.