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Brunching on Gnudi, Fried Liver & Burgers at Spotted Pig

December 02, 2007

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(note: this meal took place on 11/23 …but alas, I must be the world’s slowest blogger! :)

The other day I went off to brunch at the Spotted Pig with a few of my closest high school friends from Hawaii. Granted, it was the day after Thanksgiving, and it was probably in our best interest not to eat so much heavy food, but sheesh, who would be silly enough to turn down an opportunity for a morning meal of liver, burgers and gnudi with friends??

I’ve heard plenty of horror stories regarding long waits for tables at this place, but we must have come at an ideal time because the place was empty upon arrival and our group quickly seated at a cozy six top upstairs.

The interior of the restaurant reminded me of a more rustic, meatier (yes, places can look meatier!), and manlier version of Alice’s Tea Cup. Strange relation I know, but they’re both such charming places I’d love to call home, hehe.

the window and plants next to our table – so happy looking!

It was no easy feat picking just one entree from a menu laced with options such as a Fried Duck Egg and Bacon Salad, Sautéed Quail with Figs & Cippolini and a Prosciutto & Ricotta Tart with Marjoram, but luckily I had my head on proper and stuck straight with my goal to eat Gnudi…

…A Sheep’s Ricotta Gnudi with Brown Butter & Sage to be exact! Gorgeous isn’t it?! I don’t know where to begin. This was the best thing I’ve eaten in a really long time. And that’s saying something, because I’ve eaten an incredible share of amazing dishes in this city.

Wait.
So I take that back.
About it being the best things I’ve eaten in a really long time.
(Sometimes I tend to exaggerate, sorry! :)
But this gnudi was GOOD.
Way up high on the list of deliciousness that must be eaten.

here’s an innards shot just for you!

It was like insanely, happy, happy thoughts kind of good. A perfect eight quarter-size gnudi made from sheep milk ricotta along with some insane magic that must be drugs or something of similar nature…cause I COULD NOT STOP EATING THIS and could nearly not stop from moaning. It was all at once soft, savoury and creamy – like how you’d imagine heaven or eternal happiness would taste. Or LOVE. Can you taste love? Maybe! If there’s a food worth moaning over, I’m pretty sure this would be it. A smatter of crisp fried sage was the perfect counterpart to the velvety smooth gnudi. But should gnudi alone not suffice to induce sudden cries of food orgies, then the cheesy warm brown butter sauce surely will do the job. It is INSANE. I was so enamoured with it that when I failed to scrape it all off the bottom of the dish with a fork, I used Steph’s burger bun to soak it up. Gah, I start to drool just thinking about it now! As far as potion size goes, the order left me content, but with enough room to polish off nearly half of Steph’s burger and a good share of her fries…hehe (thanks Steph! :)
Justin started his meal with a boiled duck egg and pancetta, of which he graciously passed around the table for us to each take a bite. Sorry, to be honest, I can’t remember what the hell this tasted like, aside from the fact that it was enjoyable but not something I’d pay $4 for.

For his entree, a most indulgent order of Pan Fried Calf’s Liver with Crispy Pancetta. Justin cut me a generous wedge of the liver which was, erm…SO DELICIOUS!!! Holy shit, sometimes I forget how much I love liver! I love animal innards more than the meat itself. Don’t get me wrong, meat is good, I enjoy my steak as much as the next guy (or would that be girl?). But give me the option and I’d gladly opt for sweetbreads, tendon, tripe and liver over a hunk of meat any day! The surface of the liver was fried to a delicate crisp, and upon bite, broken into the fattiest and savoury meaty cream possible. Goooossssh! You could just feel your arteries clogging up to hell. It was awesome. You like how they complete the dish with fried pancetta of all things?! We both agreed that there was definite need for some starch to accompany this dish to round things out. Slices of nutty bread with a nice crust, or mashed potatoes…starches were in definite order.

Kelly had a side of marinated olives to accompany her burger. She has a particular penchant for olives – nearly any and all types, it appears. If olives are on the menu, this girl will be sure to order it! My favourite were the big fat meaty ones liberally doused in olive oil. It’s rather amazing how different each olives tastes. I don’t know much about olives, but that (along with cheese and butter) are particular food items I’d like to become more experienced in.

Kelly, Steph and Shann all went for the Roquefort Burger, an excellent choices as both the burger itself and the accompanying shoestring fries were fantastic! A generous stink of Roquefort layered between the patty and top bun provided just the right amount of saltiness and pungency to what otherwise would have been a very dense, lightly seasoned burger. It was a hefty baby, but a good one, aided by the buttery grilled brioche bun. The fries were a tangled jungle of thin crisp magic with fried sage, rosemary and slices of garlic. It was crazzzziness! They remind me somewhat of the fries at Town back home in Hawaii, only a bagazillion times better. Thinner, and less greasy. Heck, you don’t even feel like it weighs anything in your tummy post consumption. This meal was on a real good roll – from the gnudi, to the liver and burger, it seemed one could do no wrong.

Until Marie’s salad arrived. It was an Apple, Walnut and Cheddar Salad. And it looks appetizing. But for $16, we expected something more in terms of portion size. Especially because the other dishes we had fell in a similar $15-$17 range (and did you see how BIG that burger was?). Nonetheless, Marie, who always focuses on the brighter aspect of everything, noted that the mustardy dressing was a great highlight of the dish. But man…that must have been some expensive apples they used!

Steph and I outside Spotted Pig, post-lunching. Man, it was freezing out that day!

P.S.
Watch out for the next post! This same day, we drank warm cider and munched on apple cider donuts at the Greenmarket and then headed to Blue Ribbon Bakery for dinner with Robyn. Hooray for good food and company!

The Spotted Pig
314 W 11th St
NY, NY 10014
(212) 620-0393



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