A dad and his daughters, loving life in New York City

Sunday, August 12

Chickie Pig's

I'm not sure what exactly they're baking at Chickie Pig's Brick Oven Pizzeria and Restaurant, but I know I wouldn't call it "pizza." Roasted flat bread with salad (or piles of meat) on top? Pita bruschetta? Open-faced sandwiches? Either way, this very new, very orange spot on the Lower East Side is up and running and serving pretty good versions of... whatever it is they're serving.

Last Saturday evening my daughters and I had the place to ourselves and mostly enjoyed a huge meal that hit on much of menu, starting with a perfectly serviceable Sweet Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese salad, which Bo and Co showed little enthusiasm for when I ordered, but couldn't stop eating once they tasted these (supposedly) house-roasted roots which, not surprisingly, went well with the generous dollops of salty, creamy French goat. I was less enchanted, especially with the straight-from-the-can walnuts scattered about the plate instead of the promised pine nuts, but it was fine.

As an entree, Co went the pasta route: specifically, Linguine with Goat Cheese, which also came with lemon, pieces of tomatoes and bits of bacon, all of which sounds summery and refreshing—and, in fact, tasted quite good—but was so drenched in a thick cream sauce that it became all but unfinishable. Then it was on to the "pizza", Bo opting for the Chickie the Greek, for which our chef (name of Marty, btw) roasted a salted, olive-oiled oval of flat bread, then piled on a cold greek salad—artichokes, feta cheese, calamata olives, pepperoncini, sundried tomatoes, onions, anchovies, capers—minus the greens and dressing. That's it. No sauce. No melted cheese. No return to the oven. It wasn't bad, if you like these ingredients (and we do), but, c'mon Chickie Pig people, this dish isn't pizza.

My entree, the Pig Pie, at least had some tomato sauce and a little cheese, but the mountain of meat—ham, sausage and prosciutto—was perplexingly cold. Did Marty just forget to put my pie back into his brick oven?

We didn't have time for dessert, and so couldn't try the Brazilian Cream Flan or the Nutella Banana Split, and I'm not sure we'll be there a "next time" to do so. Chickie Pig's is located on Ludlow Street between Delancey and Rivington. The service was heartfelt but extremely scattered (it was 6:30, we were the only people in the place, and our server couldn't remember our order, nor knew anything about the menu.... though to be fair, she might have been the hostess filling in for a late waitress). As of yesterday, they have no liquor license.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi scobo

I want to thank you for your critique of my restaurant Chickie Pig's, located on Ludlow St. We were happy to have you and your daughters as our guests and although I'm not sure how to interpret your comments, we hope you will return soon. If I might have the opportunity to rebut your commentary, it would be greatly appreciated. First off, if you wanted to have the traditional pizza experience, may I suggest that next time you try our virgin pie which is more of the standard Marguerita pizza. Our pig pie is basically a virgin pie topped with sausage, ham and proscuitto which you tried when you visited. You did mention that the toppings were cold. We serve the proscuitto cold for a reason, and might I add, after very careful consideration. The sausage is in fact cooked in the oven along with the pizza, while the ham and proscuitto are topped after the pizza comes out of the oven. Ham and Proscuitto are both salty meats to begin with and as anyone knows, a salty item cooked in an 800 degree oven gets exponentially saltier by the minute as well as dried out and quite untasty. Proscuitto, which can cost $20 a lb is usually laden with a ring of fat around it that gives it a velvety smoothness in addition to a delicately delicious flavor. Heat up the proscuitto and say goodbye to the ring of fat. If we did cook I can promise you that you like it even less. We usually allow the heat of the pizza to naturally heat up the proscuitto and ham. I'm not sure which critique I could bear to stand more, that our toppings were "perplexingly cold" or dried up and overly salty. I think I'll opt for the latter. As I recall everything we served you got eaten except for a small piece of the greek pizza, or for a better description, our oily flat bread with a cold greek salad on top. Again, if you were looking for the traditional pizza experience, that would not be my recommendation, although surprisingly, it's become quite a popular item on our menu. We further appreciate that you felt our service was heartfelt, but scattered. My wife, the so called hostess filling in for a late waitress, always tries her best and was rather hurt by your comments, although it's not something she can't learn to deal with. In essence I'm not sure if your critique was good or bad, but it appeared roughly 40% good, 60% bad. The pictures were great and that pig pie sure looks delicious, despite being perplexingly cold. I didn't notice you mention anything about the place itself as you have in your other blogs but ending your commentary with the liquor license thing is sort of the piece de resistence which in this neighborhood is the same as saying, don't go to this place. Next time, if there is one, let us know how you want your pizza and we will try everything in our power to make it happen for you.

6:44 PM, August 17, 2007

Blogger Scott said...

Thank you for your lengthy comment. Seriously: I totally appreciate that you took the time to communicate with me and my readers. Perhaps my review was overly glib, but it did honestly reflect our thoughts and feelings and experience at Chickie Pig's, which I would say were 60% good and 40% just satisfactory/disappointing. And I do apologize for hurting your wife's feelings. Really, she couldn't have been more kind (your daughter (?) as well)... and we found the scatteredness more far charming than annoying.

Anyway, thanks again.

2:09 PM, August 19, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your short reply to my long one. Considering that we're only open 1 month now, I will tell you that we are well aware of. and are in the process of improving many things at Chickie Pigs. To call your review glib would not give proper meaning to it. If you were in my shoes you would be feeling like you just got kicked in the nuts after being hit over the head with a shovel. I think your reply is actually glib because your story and commentary has "don't go to this place" written all over it. I spent a very important part of my life building that place, mostly with my bare hands. I spent about a half a million dollars, representing just about every penny I ever owned. I waited a year to go in front of the state liquor authority, only to be told in about 60 seconds, that they weren't giving me a liquor license, because the community board doesn't want them to issue any additional licenses on Ludlow st. I could go on and on but I'm trying to find some kind of lesson from your blog that I could use to make my place better. After all that I've been through, I still managed to get the place open, and during the worst time of the year to open a restaurant. What I am in essense trying to say is that I'm not sure what it was was that you were disappointed about. Would you rather have the proscuitto warm soft and moist? or hot,dry and salty? Because those are the only two alternatives when you're cooking a pizza in an 800 degree oven. If you want to be a critic at least know what you are talking about. If you want to influence how people will see a restaurant and decide whether to go there or not, there has to be more than just simple conjecture, such as "come on Chickie Pig's people, this ain't pizza" to your critique. I'm sorry if I sound like sour grapes, and I really don't mind serious critique of my establishment, but it pisses the hell out of me when off the cuff remarks are substituted for serious commentary. Granted you paid for your meal and you have the right to say anything you please about my place, but you should consider your words carefully because quite frankly, I still can't understand what it was that you didn't like. It sounds like everything was delicious and the photos you took make the food all look mouth watering, but your commentary appears to say the opposite. Did you like the food or not? Was the place nice, clean. did we do everything we could to serve you the best we could? Did we try hard to present the food to you as fresh and delicious? Maybe the reason you didn't like the place was because there weren't many people there and you didn't like it because it wasn't "happening" like Shillers or some of the other really crowded places on the LES. If that's your critique, I can appreciate it, but please remember that we're only a month old. I welcome you and your charming daughters back to Chickie Pig's, not because I'm looking for a second chance, but because I would like to be able to answer any questions that you might have about the how's and why's of the way we prepare our foods. If you were curious about the reason that the ham and proscuitto were not placed back in the oven after the pizza is cooked, you could have simply asked me. We also put our anchovies on the pizza cold, because those little suckers can get mighty salty when subjected to high heat. As I recall, I personally came to your table on several occasions to make sure everything was alright and you assured me that everything was fine. That would have been the time to ask me questions about the pizza or the food, not ambush me a week later with your cute little blog. If you decide to return, and you probably won't, the first pizza is on the house, just to show you there's no hard feelings.



7:45 PM, August 20, 2007

Anonymous Aryn said...

I think your review is very fair, and I'm sorry that the people of Chickie Pig's took offense. To me, it seemed like constructive criticism- something that is very important to any kind of success.

7:44 PM, August 21, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Love the site. I always forget to check it out, and then randomly find it again when Eater links to it.

To Marty, I think your response is unprofessional, considering you're responding to an amateur review, not a professional writing for the NY Times. It's a blog, it's his opinion, he voiced it. Anybody going to your restaurant will have an opinion, but probably will convey it by word-of-mouth to friends, instead of by blog -- but it will be tinted by opinion just as much.
To take Scott to task like you do seems like small- fry Chodorow weirdness. The tone you take will only mean that a) Scott definitely won't return and b) any reader will be creeped-out by your response and won't try your place. I know you invested a lot of money, sweat, and tears in your restaurant, but be professional and take your lumps. If you have contempt for Scott's opinion, then ignore it because he's not your desired customer. If you have respect for his opinion, respond to it respectfully and move on.


8:13 AM, August 24, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

to james

I think I expressed myself in a professional manner. I'm trying to learn something from his critique, not just stand in the corner and take my lumps as you suggest I do. My mother always taught me that if you're treated unfairly, you should fight back. In the meantime, when are you coming down for a pizza? Don't those pies look delicious?

12:32 PM, August 24, 2007

Blogger nicholus said...

Hi all

I stumbled onto this blog by accident while looking for a place to eat on the LES. I was curious about Chickie Pigs' debate and went there the other night with my wife for dinner. I got to tell you right off the bat, it was some of the best food and pizza I've ever had. My wife swallowed down the calamari like she was on a ten day fast. I had a taste and decided to order another. The salmon was also terrific. We topped it off with a virgin pizza with olives and artichokes. It arrived at our table molten and beautifully charred around the edges just the way I love my pizza. With all due respect to the original blogger, I found Chickie PIgs to be a 9 out of ten. Granted the service was a bit scattered but I've had similar experiences with 4 star restaurants. I say go eat with Marty. He came to our table and chatted with us several times. 2 thumbs up.


9:49 AM, August 25, 2007

Blogger Shanky said...

I must say I haven't eaten yet at Chickie Pigs, but frankly, I'd rush to a place where the owner has this much passion for his food and his restaurant. Too much time has been spent in restaurants where anonymous owners pay professional cooks to make perfect but dispassionate food; I'd rather take the passion and imperfection of a real owner-chef.

12:49 AM, August 28, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not a New Yorker, but when I visit, I will have to stop by Chickie Pigs. Both the review and the rebuttal are behind the piqued curiosity.

To the blogger: fairly honest review of a place, given the perspective of the patron. Bit snobbish in the delivery, but not intentionally unkind.

To the restaurateur: as others have mentioned, your passion is applaudable, but this is a blog (which also means that you're free to offer rebuttal, and may I point out that the blogger has accepted it, showing better sportsmanship?)

The pictures look great. The descriptions sound mouth-watering. The people sound entertaining, and the entire experience sounds most NYish.

Thank you, Scott, and you too, Marty.

8:34 PM, September 03, 2007

Anonymous AJ said...

This is hilarious. I found this site when I was looking to find our more about Chickie Pigs...

I also found the place to be amazing. Great food and good people. Passionate about what they make.

The pizza is unbelievable.

I would definitely recommend this place.

7:08 PM, June 14, 2008


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