A one-star Michelin rated gastro pub in Manhattan that has a burger ranked in America’s top 25? Is that enough reason to poke your snout in and take a gander? Well, of course!
The West Village has many little treasures, as does the entire island, but if you’re in New York for less than 48 hours you may want to consider getting your glutes down to The Spotted Pig. One word of advice. Arrive early and leave your name at the door. This little hipster hang-out fills up fast and crams them in so without your name down for a table expect to loiter in the street a little longer than you may have made time for.
There’s nothing ground-breaking about the edibles here. Yes it’s knocked up by some talented individuals but it’s the simple approach, the honest approach that keeps those seats perpetually warm. It’s a little British, it’s a little Italian. Hell, it’s even a little American. One thing for sure is that it’s damn delicious, in a pub-kind-of-way. Our wait wasn’t too cumbersome. 10-15 minutes? It was lunch, god knows what day it was so all that mattered is that we got a table. Seating upstairs is a little more spread out than downstairs, especially by the crowded window when you first walk in. It’s packed to the point that if your dining companion wants to get out and use the amenities, or the table next to you for that matter, the only way to let them out is to get up and drag the table away from the wall to create a few inches. Talk about forced intimacy with a stranger.
The lunch set was pretty light. Nothing too heavy, considering the other half went for a prosciutto and ricotta tart ($17) that had pastry so buttery and flakey it could sit comfortably in a Parisian boulangerie. A tangled copse of dressed greenery gave the illusion that it was larger than anticipated, a bit of oregano, a bit of grated parmesan … someone was satisfied.
Now. The burger. If you sit in The Spotted Pig longer than five minutes you can’t help but notice the same dish being delivered to tables in all corners of the establishment. It looks enormous thanks to an epic-sized pile of some of the thinnest shoestring fries you’ll set your eyes on. Somewhere behind these rosemary and garlic-laced fries is a burger that people rave about. Char-grilled burger with Roquefort ($17), to be precise. If you’re not a fan of the stinky blue cheese then go for something else. Or if you’ve got the balls, order it without the Roquefort as one certain blogger did and bring your own highly-processed yellow American cheese freshly peeled from cellophane and slap on two slices as discreetly as you can. Yes, it actually happened. In my case, unnecessary. I love blue cheese. It’s what made the burger, along with the thick medium-rare patty of melt-in-the-mouth ground meat. Is it worthy of making the top 25 list on a website the average person hasn’t heard of? Who knows. Personally I loved it, and I wouldn’t dare botch it with that same yellow crap they put in Mc-I-can’t-believe-this-is-classified-as-food burgers.
Of course the meal had to be rounded up with something sweet and a small cup of java. A flourless chocolate cake ($8) that was more affined to a wedge of sinfully dark, very dark and firm mousse. Good lord. Holy crap. Killer rich. All of the above. And that gorgeous seasonal plum tart ($8) dotted with nuts and slightly sour fruit; both washed down with a couple of very decent macchiati. This is definitely one place I’d revisit next time I’m in town.