The Spotted Pig, the only Michelin-starred gastropub, famous for its burger and incredibly long wait times, has been on my restaurant list for a long time. I’m a big fan of Chef April Bloomfield, and last week I was finally able to go for lunch.
There were several requirements needed to achieve success:
1. I had to go for lunch, not dinner. Going for dinner there often means waiting for hours.
2. It had to be a week day, not a weekend—on weekends, the Spotted Pig serves a brunch menu, which didn’t have the gnudi I was dying to try.
3. I had to get there right as it opened; despite the fact that they say it’s less crowded on weekdays, I knew that it would fill up fast.
So we got there right at 12, on a Friday, and successfully got a table.
We ordered three plates: the gnudi, smoked haddock chowder, and cubano sandwich. Frank Bruni recommended the chowder, the cubano was rated one of NYC’s best sandwiches, and the gnudi held a personal significance.
About a year ago, I was working Saturday prep shifts at a restaurant in Boston. The restaurant was serving a pomegranate-braised lamb shank which was served with gnudi. Gnudi (coming from the Italian word for nude) are basically ricotta balls rolled in semolina flour; ravioli without the pasta. Nude ravioli. I made these gnudi week after week, sometimes tasting the filling, but I had never actually had one in its glory.
I also couldn’t wait much longer to try them. Last summer, the Spotted Pig changed the set with the gnudi—I believe they were served with some sort of pesto. The classic set is brown butter and crispy sage; that was back on the menu, it sounded divine, and I didn’t want to risk a menu change.
I’m a huge seafood chowder fan, and the smoked haddock chowder was no disappointment. The smokiness of the haddock and the pancetta complemented the cream and parsley perfectly. This may have actually been the best thing we ordered.
April Bloomfield’s spin on a cubano involves (as far as I could tell) prosciutto, pork shoulder, cornichons, and jalapeños. Pair that with super melty gruyere and you have a masterpiece. A masterpiece that drips (a stunning amount of) oil, but still a masterpiece.
As featured on the second season of Mind of a Chef, here are the gnudi. Super salty cheese contrasted beautifully with the brown butter (if you’ve never had brown butter, try it; it’s basically butter that has been cooked on super low heat for maybe 45 minutes until the proteins caramelize) and sage, my favorite herb, added a nice pop.
Overall? Highly recommend. One of the most enjoyable meals I’ve had in a long time. I admire Chef Bloomfield’s ability to make a name for herself in such an incredibly male-dominated industry, and a unique name at that. I look forward to trying her other restaurants.
The Spotted Pig:
314 W 11th St; (212) 620-0393
Atmosphere: small, pub feeling; the dining room gets loud quickly and the waitstaff is very casual.
Sound Level: loud.
Recommended Dishes: gnudi, smoked haddock chowder, cubano.
Price Range: $$$; lunch plates run around $19 per plate. Dinner is more expensive.
Hours: 12 – 5pm, 5:30pm – 2 am, Mon-Fri; 11am – 5pm, 5:30pm – 2 am, Sat-Sun.
Reservations: None. Plan your travel carefully. Get there early if you don’t want to wait. For dinner, always be prepared to wait.