Monday, December 7, 2009
I love the holidays in the U.S. It seems like we all come together a bit more and can tolerate one another more than usual and are more considerate of each other. Well, some of us. Not the lovely young woman that let the wind take her shopping cart from her hands, which subsequently slammed into my car the other day. I managed to keep it together and didn't say anything. I just gave her a look of total astonishment and a quick holiday smile.
There is one thing I miss most during the holidays in the U.S. and that's a good 'ole English Pub. More importantly, I miss the wood burning fireplaces, the greasy, fattening comfort food and the gentle chill of a perfectly poured pint as it makes its way down my throat and into my tummy. There is only one city in the U.S. where I know I can find something similar to the genuine English Pub, New York City of course. But I wanted to go to a really good one, being close to Christmas and all that. I did an internet search for One Star Michelin restaurants in NYC and came across The Spotted Pig.
It was a perfect day in NYC, there was a slightly cold wind, but the sky was a beautiful blue and there wasn't a cloud in sight. When I lived in NYC I always enjoyed days like this. It made my 400 square foot, $2,400 a month rent almost bearable. Almost!
Entering The Spotted Pig I was instantly transported to a Village Pub in England. This could have been Speldhurst, or Bray, or Colemans Hatch. But it wasn't, it was Greenwich St. in New York City. Once seated I was struck by the hundreds and hundreds of pig photos, wooden pig dolls and pig paintings. There was no mistaking where I was. We were handed our menu and at 11am we ordered our first pints of Guinness.
The menu at The Spotted Pig is very straightforward. They don't clog it with dozens of items, it is clean and inviting. Only a handful of minutes passed before we were eating. My Two Fried Eggs with Homefries were very traditional, but it wasn't worth the $13 price tag. The best part of it was the Caramelized Onions. A very tasty dish, just not $13-tasty. I had heard a lot about the Chargrilled Burger with Roquefort Cheese & Shoestrings and I was most excited to try it. Again, this was a bit of a let down. The Shoestrings were magic, but the Burger had too much bread and the Patty was nothing to stand up and cheer about. I've had better Burgers for $2. To pay $17 for this is almost laughable. Next up was the Apple Salad with Mrs. Quicke’s Cheddar & Walnuts. A playful little dish, but again, and I feel odd saying this, but it simply wasn't worth $16. It was small for one and the flavors were very muted. I'm sorry to say but, the whole meal was actually just a bit... BLAH.
How on Earth did The Spotted Pig get One Michelin Star? There is a debate going on about this right now. Some say that The Michelin Guide is off its rocker here in America. That they give stars to restaurants in the U.S. that wouldn't normally have anything above a mention in the French guides. I have to say, I thought that was was crap before, but judging by the Michelin Restaurants I've eaten at in the U.S. recently I have to say I agree. Oh well, it was nice to eat at New York's idea of an English Gastropub. I still miss the real thing though.
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