We're on a lot of email lists, and sometimes I actually read what appears in the Inbox. This time, we opened an email from DBGB, Daniel Boulud's downtown restaurant, which I've blogged about before, and learned that the restaurant was having a "limited number" of "whole hog dinners," (one table, one piglet, per night) for a "limited time," further described as serving from one to eight jolly diners. I called this to the attention of Himself, and he said, "I'm in, would you like to join me?" I suggested that we line up six other people to join us, which dampened his enthusiasm, but not for long. Game plan: reserve one of the "limited number" of dates, then see who could come. Otherwise six more people would have seven or eight different plans and preferences each, that way lies madness. The plan worked, a suitable group of hungry Visigoths committed, we booked our piglet, and our dinner took place last night.
There was an option to add all the beer you could drink, that is, all the beer the entire table could drink from a stated selection while there was food on the table. We didn't add the option: four of us enjoyed a nice Alsatian riesling, and the other four chose beer. That worked.
The dinner began with head cheese, an unfortunate choice of nomenclature. On the other hand, if it had been described as, say, "Terrine de porc," which is what it looked and tasted like, well, then, everyone would have had some, and there would have been less for us.
After the fromage de tête was finished, the whole roast pig was introduced.
The pig was taken away and carved. It had been stuffed with chunks of pork, bacon and apples.
|the pig, elegantly carved to show off its beautiful stuffing|
|the pig, after we'd been at it for some time|
There were also bowls of sauerkraut (braised in beer, mild and savory), roasted brussels sprouts, and roasted fingerling potatoes, all lovely, and a gratin of endives with ham, which last I frankly felt was a little thin. And one die-hard at the table insisted on French fries, which were not part of the set menu, but if ever there was a time for self-indulgence....
And here is the only side dish I felt like memorializing. Not onions. Not calamari. If you don't know what it is, well, let's just say that long before the creation of the potato chip, this was a beloved snack.
Yes, there was a Baked Alaska, yes, it was brought to the table and flambéed, turning us all into goggle-eyed ten-year-olds, and most unusually, it was actually delicious. My experience has been that after everyone says "Ooooh," the dessert itself is either soggy or rock-hard. Not this one. We all enjoyed it.