Katie B. Foster
Katie B. Foster
Summer is fast approaching (I hope), so that means a diner’s thoughts turn to barbecue. Or at least mine do. This week, Pete Wells visits the Brooklyn-import Pig Bleecker, which shares menu items, owners, and a name with Gowanus’ Pig Beach.
Pig Bleecker takes the second half of its name from its Greenwich Village address and the first from Pig Beach, a beer garden and barbecue stand on the idyllic shores of the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. The two places share a chef, several owners, some sauces and recipes, and a fondness for wood smoke. They have pigs in their names for a reason, but one appealing thing about Pig Bleecker is how often it gravitates toward cooking that has nothing to do with barbecued pork.
Wells then recounts the numerous seafood dishes he enjoyed, opining on their Italian undertones thanks to chef Matt Abdoo’s time at Del Posto.
In fact, a lot of Mr. Abdoo’s menu successfully does what Guy’s claims and fails to do. It rounds up unfancy American dishes whose natural habitat is small taverns and bars and shacks on the state road just outside town. Utica greens, spicy chopped escarole baked under bread crumbs and Parmigiano-Reggiano, are terrific at Pig Bleecker.
There is a pastrami sandwich and Buffalo wings. Pork chops and fried squid.
I might give Pig Bleecker more than an enthusiastic single star if the cooking didn’t sometimes swing and miss.
There are some (surprisingly) bland pastas and some less than inspiring dishes. But in all, one shiner for a communal-table restaurant is nothing to sneeze at.