The Spotted Pig: New York’s Original Trendy Gastropub?
Few restaurants in Manhattan have sustained hype for as long as Ken Friedman’s The Spotted Pig, a verifiable West Village hotspot since it opened in 2004. The brainchild of Mario Batali, A&R music exec Ken Friedman, and pork-obsessed chef April Bloomfield, The Spotted Pig is a simultaneously quaint and hip British ‘gastro-pub’ with a vaguely Italian menu and an in-your-face scene.
Stuffed into the quirky 100-seat space on W. 11th Street and Greenwich formerly inhabited by Le Zoo, ‘the Pig’ is as dark and twisty as an old townhouse with plenty of dusty corners and necking nooks. The two levels each have a bar guaranteed to be swamped with hipsters and yuppies-in-the-know alike, while mismatching tables are strewn about wherever they can fit. With antique photos, hanging porcelain plates, green knotty plants, textural wallpaper, slightly crumbling exposed brick, and bar stools upholstered in various faded fabrics, the look is lush and nostalgic, inarguably atmospheric, and just shabby enough to qualify as chic.
The Spotted Pig has simple and delicious bar food made from quality ingredients and with a fair bit of inspiration from chef April Bloomfield. The menu blends British classics with American standbys and Italian favorites, and there’s a little something for everyone. For those seeking a little nibble with their brew, flavor-packed snacks like deviled eggs, chicken liver toast, and “devils on horseback” (bacon-wrapped stuffed prunes) are sure to satisfy; while, inexpensive small plates such as a refreshing and verdant squash salad or a light sheep’s milk ricotta gnudi offer something on the lighter side of dinner. In the mood for something substantial to sop up that compulsory pint of stout? Opt for the hulking char-grilled burger, served thick and juicy with Roquefort cheese and a mass of tangled shoestring fries. Chef Bloomfield’s food is hearty and satisfying. Made with skill and focused on quality, the eclectic menu is a welcome break from the typical pigs-in-a-blanket and fried calamari pub grub that permeates New York’s bar scene.
Despite receiving a Michelin Star and raves from scores of critics, The Spotted Pig is, at it’s core, a bar. The cocktails are strong and creative, made of fresh ingredients and a cocktail craftsman’s magic. My personal favorite? The wonderfully tart Market Lemonade, made slightly sweet with cut strawberries. The beers are diverse, with everything from classic British ‘cask beer’ to an unusual array of international beers on tap and in bottles (expect varieties from Asia, Mexico, Europe, and across the United States). Over 100 bottles of wine are offered, to appease those oenophiles seeking a bit of vino with their vittles.
Now, The Spotted Pig isn’t for everyone. It’s sceney and noisy, consistently packed, and incredibly difficult to nab a table at dinner without an hour or two wait. However, if you don’t mind talking over the buzz and killing some time at a neighborhood wine bar, The Spotted Pig is a wonderful place to experience a chi-chi slice of New York life, where everything’s trendy, casual and oh so haute, all at the same time.
Perfect For: ladies night out, a foodie’s pregame, celebrity spotting, Anglophiles, yupsters and huppies, boozy lunch