I initially accepted the invite to try the Brooklyn restaurant Belly’s “Bacon Omakase” tasting menu for my husband’s sake. For most red-blooded, carnivorous males, bacon is the holy grail of pork, a salty, gamey way into their souls.
To my surprise, the experience completely changed the way I think of bacon.
The bacon carpaccio was white, first of all, and gave the appearance of thinly sliced fish, but no doubt about it, what we were eating was house-cured pork belly dressed with truffle oil, Himalayan pink sea salt, black pepper, and shaved Parmesan.
Next to blow my mind was the bacon sushi, also deceptive in its coloring but still that exact same sliced pork belly torched and dotted with wasabi and Sichuan chili oil over sushi rice.
Before we could put our chopsticks down, we used them to twirl the “Pasta alla Belly” — house-made spaghetti and pork sausage in signature creamy kimchi sauce with pickled red onions.
The meal continues from there until your passion for the porcine is thoroughly satiated. Though the experience is meant to be fun and experimental, there is serious culinary technique applied to each course. The finale, the Hurricane Doughnut, is a Korean doughnut glazed with sweet kimchi icing sprinkled with chives and sesame seeds, served with a dollop of secret “smoky” whipped cream redolent of bacon fat.
So where did the inspiration for this bacon-fest come from?
It actually started as a series of laid-back, bacon-centric Korean dinners that advertising executive Phillip Cho and his longtime partner, Anna Lee, used to stage for their pork-obsessed friends, featuring quirky riffs on traditional Korean home cooking and comfort food they grew up eating.
The group soon realized that they were onto something, and numerous brainstorming sessions later, Belly was born.
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