The Spotted Pig
The first time I went to April Bloomfeld's enormously popular, Michelin-starred gastropub was one of those beautiful, perfect nights where everything just seems to work out right..... But that was nearly two and a half years ago, in June of 2004, and, frankly, my giddiness was sparked more by my companion than by my food, though I do remember that the Gnudi was particularly tasty. Anyway, I finally returned to The Spotted Pig last Saturday night, and, using the dinner-at-5:30 technique to get a table right away, enjoyed one of the best meals I've had all year.
My first course, Fennel and Celery Salad with Lemon and Bottarga (which is a cured, smoked tuna, thinly sliced), was spectacular, a fresh, brilliant combination of ingredients that managed to be crunchy and chewy, salty and citrusy, rich and refreshing.
Equally amazing: my entree of Sautéed Calves Liver with Pancetta and Mashed Potatoes. The liver was beautifully seasoned and melt-away tender; the pancetta wonderfully salty, sweet, and crisp; the mashed fluffy and flavorful. Dessert was a molasses-y Ginger Cake with Vanilla Cream, which delivered just the right hit of scrumptious gooeyness while maintaining a certain degree of sophistication.
The Spotted Pig is on the corner of W11th and Greenwich Streets, and does not accept reservations. Every table was filled by 6:15 last Saturday. The full menu is here.