The Very Early Word: Porchetta
Porchetta sandwich—notice the slab of crunchy skin on the left
Porchetta, the single-mindedly piggy new Italian sandwich shop, opened today. The roast pork emporium is Sara Jenkins' new venture; most recently, Jenkins was the chef at 50 Carmine, and she is the daughter of food journalist Nancy Harmon Jenkins.
The shop is dedicated to, yes, porchetta, the Italian boneless pork roast that's meant to be lushly fatty and seasoned with garlic, herbs and plenty of salt. Porchetta is often stuffed into sandwiches in an Italian spin on fast food: slow-cooked meat, 30-second sandwich (meat, cracklings, bread).
It was the first day Porchetta was open, so I'm not setting out to write a review of the place. This is simply a heads-up that this is a very, very fine sandwich, and there may be a line around the corner once the word gets out, so you may want to stop by soon.
The menu is short. You can get the porchetta on a ciabatta roll or on a plate. There are beans, stewed bitter greens, roast potatoes (with pork bits) and homemade biscotti. Not much more.
The set-up is similarly minimal. The place is tiny and sweet: blue and white tile, a few stools, a counter where you can gaze upon the large hunks of burnished-skinned pig. Everything in the shop is cooked in one small Electrolux oven, which sits out in plain view. Electrolux might be most famous for the old vacuum cleaner slogan ("Nothing sucks like an Electrolux"), but this little workhorse of an oven produces juicy, supple pork sheathed in impossibly crisp skin.
The sandwich ($9) gets you a pile of the coarsely pulled meat, along with crunchy tabs of skin, on a ciabatta roll. Mine featured a mix of lean and fat that was nearly perfect.
Stewed bitter greens include broccoli rabe and red chard, strewn with soft whole cloves of garlic. The roast potatoes are tossed in pork fat and little, crunchy bits of pork.
110 East 7th Street
Bitter greens and roast potatoes