Don’t Be Ashamed To Pig Out
Published: Friday, September 14, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 13, 2012 17:09
The Pig is an enigma. A pleasant one, but an enigma nonetheless. Any restaurant that takes its name from a notoriously gluttonous animal should offer a meal with a calorie count that will keep me on the StairMaster for two and a half weeks. After perusing the menu at The Pig and seeing a dish called the Carolina Smoked BBQ, I expected to leave the restaurant via forklift.
The 14th Street Corridor is home to some of the best restaurants in D.C., and The Pig lives up to the reputation of the neighborhood. The Pig is a member of the EatWell D.C. restaurant group and is making good on EatWell’s promise to deliver local, natural and high-quality food to the District. From the food on your plate to the light fixtures on the ceiling, The Pig’s dedication to detail does not go unnoticed.
Surprisingly, the interior feels like a dive bar in Mississippi. The wood paneling on the walls and the worn-out signs of Dixieland offer up a homier feel than Grandma’s front porch. The accents of subway tiles reflect the glow of the rustic honey-lit torches on the wall, enveloping the diner in an embrace of Southern nostalgia.
It isn’t named The Pig for any ol’ reason. The restaurant’s namesake plays an integral part in the procurement of two of the most important ingredients: pork and truffles. The restaurant celebrates our porcine friends by dedicating an entire column of the menu to the pig. Although “pork” and “light” are rarely used in the same sentence, The Pig focuses on small, almost tapas-like dishes instead of troughs of high-cholesterol food.
The Carolina Smoked BBQ is described simply as “pulled pork, mac & cheese” on the menu, although it is much more than that. The pulled pork comes without barbecue sauce because, really, it doesn’t need it. The meat is surprisingly moist and proves that sometimes, good things come in small packages. The macaroni and cheese is not your typical blue-box dish. The ramekin of gooey macaroni is topped with a sensationally crunchy crust accented with truffle oil. If this sampling of macaroni and cheese left you asking for more, do not fret! A side of the deliciously powerful dish is also available.
The gang at The Pig has updated down-home favorites in a way that fuses Southern style and the sophisticated palate of the urban foodie. The idea of buttermilk-fried chicken with Thai chili gravy would make Paula Deen’s head spin. Unfortunately, The Pig didn’t anticipate the popularity of the chicken, and they ran out before we were able to try this clash of cultures. Instead, the waiter suggested the wild boar ragù, and it did not disappoint.
The Pig may have taken its dedication to the animal a bit too far, though. A chocolate sundae incorporates pig blood into the dessert. Sorry, but I had to say no to this one.
But the dessert embodies the entire restaurant’s philosophy. By integrating ingredients in new and sometimes shocking ways, The Pig takes the familiar and reinvents it in a culinary exploration of flavors and textures, all through small and inviting dishes.