Craftbar

New American
900 Broadway, NYC

212.461.4300
Website

Left to right: trotter, loin, belly. The platter was too large to fit in one photo!

Every week, the kitchen at Craftbar receives a whole pig that they then cut up and do glorious things with in the form of their frequent “Pork for Two” special. On a recent evening, my friend and I splurged on this hefty dish and loved every second of it. We were told that the cuts of meat in the special weren’t the same from night to night. When we were there the platter consisted of a generous amount of roasted pork loin slices, a patty of trotter that had been breaded and deep fried, and a braised pinwheel of pork belly. I would have been satisfied with just the pork belly, but the combination of the three components was out-of-this-world delicious.

I don’t believe I’ve ever had trotter before, and the way they prepared it here made it unrecognizable as a part of the animal that, well, trots. We likened the finished product to fried chicken skin but it was so much better than that. Crispy and salty on the outside, and soft, creamy, and fatty (in a good way) inside. I understand why they only give you a small portion of it.

Pork belly pinwheel

The pork belly was outstanding and tasted like it had been braised in the pan sauce that I kept mopping up. It was definitely the star of the plate. Tender and yummy and perfectly prepared. I have craved the pork belly several times since this meal.

The meats were laying among a bed of roasted fingerling potatoes, pearl onions, and adorable thumbelina carrots that I originally mistook for pieces of regular carrots whittled down to nubbins. Beneath everything was a wonderful bacon jus. Yes – bacon sauce!

Mmm, bacon jus...

When we had decided to go for the pork platter, we also chose to forego appetizers because we knew it would be a lot of food. However, a short while after we ordered, I realized that one of the guys working there that night was someone I went to high school with. He came over to say hello and then very kindly put our pork festival on hold and brought us an order of the pecorino arancini. I was excited about this because the arancini happened to be the one appetizer I wanted to try when I looked over the menu.

I’m glad we got a chance to try these. The rice balls were made of a creamy, cheesy risotto with a light and crispy breaded shell. The sauce that they were served in was a spicy tomato sauce. The pairing was fantastic.

Despite inhaling everything thus far, we agreed that there was still room for something sweet. Unfortunately the dessert that we wanted – the brownie with malted milk ice cream, fudge sauce, and chantilly cream – had run out. Instead we chose two of the smaller desserts to share.

Left: PB & Chocolate; right: Cheesecake

The first dessert was three little sandwiches of chocolate feuilletines (thin crispy cookies) filled with what was described as peanut butter cream. I was hoping for something like a peanut butter mousse on the inside, but instead it resembled peanut butter straight out of a jar, and it was too heavy for the cookies. The second dessert was an unbaked cheesecake presented simply, in an individual ramekin. This was not too sweet, which was great. The crust underneath was made of cocoa nibs, which also didn’t add any sweetness, but did add a nice deep, dark chocolate flavor. Throughout the creamy cheesecake were tiny flecks of lime zest that gave it a fresh taste and a little bit of texture. After trying a spoonful, I took one of the chocolate feuilletines, scraped the gloppy peanut butter off of it, and topped it with some of the cheesecake. Now, that was a great combination!

Throughout dinner I drank a cocktail called Copywriter, composed of Jameson whiskey, Carpano vermouth, lemon, honey, and a splash of Benedictine. So good I had three.

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