Despicable, Ravenous Me

Applecheeks and I have been to this area of town a few times. Having driven past a name like “The Ravenous Pig” it tends to pique one’s interest. Especially if one is as interested in food as we are, I believe you cannot have the word pig in your restaurant unless you have the skill to back it up with fantastic food. The Ravenous Pig did NOT disappoint.

It was a Sunday so we had to park a bit away. It was a nice day and we wouldn’t balk at a walk. The entrance has a small, non-fenced in, patio area for those who prefer to eat outside. You step in and are instantly standing at a host stand. When they asked if we had a reservation, I thought “my only reservation is about eating at places that require them” sadly, I could only sputter out “Uhh, no… Can we still eat here?” Turns out they had a table for two, right next to the front.

The place is decorated like a combination pub meets art gallery. The table was decorated with butcher paper, 2 presumptuous wine glasses, Salt & Pepper grinders, flatware and a sugar caddy. The lighting was fairly intimate. It definitely had a good date night feel.

Our server greeted us, his name was Alex. He asked if we had dined here before and discovering it was our first time, he began telling us a bit about the restaurant (like that they only use local ingredients and whatnot), he took us through a tour of the cocktails and beer menu. The first thing he pointed at struck me like a slap to the face.

The Ravenous Pig Old Fashioned.

First let us take a look at a “normal” Old Fashioned: Bourbon Whisky, dash of bitters, some kind of sweetener (usually a teaspoon of sugar), a maraschino cherry, and orange wedge on ice.

The Ravenous Pig Old Fashioned: Bacon infused buffalo trace bourbon, vanilla maple syrup and angostura orange (orange cocktail bitters).

So, what they have done is take bourbon, which gets much of its flavor from the ageing process, in which it sits in a white oak barrel that has been charred on the inside allowing the alcohol to absorb some of those flavors. Imitation vanilla is made from taking wood and soaking it an alcohol. What they’ve done is take the sweetener, and nod at Bourbon twice over by giving you vanilla a flavor component in the bourbon and giving you maple given to us by the sweetest of trees. What I’m trying to say is that it was delicious. The crispy bacon garnish was just the icing on the pork.

Time to order an appetizer.  Applecheeks and I have never before had Foie Gras. I knew a bit of what to expect thanks to years of food network and travel channel. Let me tell you… if you think you know what it tastes like, you’re wrong. Its SO MUCH BETTER. Or rather it can be.

The Foie Gras (pronounced Fraw Grwah) is goose liver. I know how it’s been made for the past 2300 years, but there are slightly more humane ways of producing it. And outside of France, you’re allowed to call “fatty goose liver” “Foie gras”, if it’s been made slightly more humanely. I didn’t think to ask about how it was produced while I was there.

It was prepared by searing and placed on zucchini bread, then topped with plant city strawberries, rhubarb, vanilla granola and crispy ginger. Imagine biting into a big, fat piece of fried chicken. There is a moment where the chicken fat explodes into your mouth and its succulent and rich… that taste is a hint of what Foie Gras tastes like. Pairing it with the tart and sweet strawberries and rhubarb, it was simply amazing.

For my Main course, I couldn’t decide. It was difficult because the Pub Burger, which I’m sure, is delicious but I wanted something more adventurous, came with truffle fries. That sounds delicious damnit! Alex suggested I get a side of fries for us to share and pointed out the Pork Porterhouse. So that is what I did. The Pork Porterhouse is humorously named as it is literally the pork equivalent to a beef porterhouse steak. It was every bit as large and juicy as I’d hoped. In spite of it’s thickness, the pork was grilled to perfection. It was topped with a peach Mostarda (a itallian condiment made of candied fruit and mustard flavored syrup) and a peache tea gastrique. (A gastrique is a sauce, often thick and made from a reduction of something sweet and includes vinegar, in this case, peach tea.) I was completely satisfied with this dish, it delivered on flavor, texture and was juicy! It came with a side of fingerling potatoes, tossed with sherry and shallots, I couldn’t determine all of the ingredients but I found out there were tasty little cubes that went great with the small fingerlings, the little spicy cubes were actually Kohlrabi. (Kohlrabi is a German turnip; it grows underground and has big leafy protrusions on top.) I would totally recommend this dish, especially if you’re hungry. That was a lot of meat…

For dessert, I looked at the menu and something looked right back at me… the words MALT and STOUT. It was the “Cake and Ice Cream” Which was served as three small chocolate stout cupcakes, topped with a caramel butter cream (not manly to say but they were adorable). These things had a delightful chew, a strong chocolate flavor with a slightly smaller stout reminder. The ice cream portion of this dish was in the form of a milkshake. The small glass contained a stout-malt milkshake and it couldn’t be described better. If you like malt (like the middle of whoppers candy) you’re going to dig this dessert. I’m only a mild fan of the dark, stout beers but something about it’s pairing with ice cream is just fantastic.

Basically, this is the best restaurant at which I’ve had the joy to eat. Sadly, the glorious food and service does not come cheap. They do offer a lunch menu, so if you’re cheap or want to pretend like you’re rich, I’d say take your girl here during lunch hours. Otherwise, I would say, if you can afford it, this place is most definitely worth the price.

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