Park Slope Gastronome #10 - Give me something good to eat
Hey, the PSG is back! Believe me, it's not that PSG hasn't been eating, PSG has just been lazy. My belly overhang will attest to that. Last night, Margie J, Barf and I visited Little Giant on the L.E.S., where Barf's friend Eric is the chef. Little Giant is relatively new restaurant serving cheeky takes on American food, using market available ingredients. It's small, but cozy. I never got the sense of feeling overcrowded and having my personal space violated, something that can happen often in any restaurant. The inside decor is minimal, but not cold - the ceiling is brick, the chairs and table were made of the same blonde wood and the wall behind where we were seated housed shelves constructed out of trapezoidal pieces of wood that held everything from astute looking wooden trays to kitschy, authentic fondue pots. To start, we were treated to some free house nibbles courtesy of Chef Eric - tangy red piquillo (I think...I should have snagged a menu) peppers stuffed with goat cheese and herbs, tiny avocado salads served with bacon and shallot dressing and piece of crisped speck and some unbelieveable deviled eggs. Boy, do I love me some deviled eggs and it turned out my two dining partners love them too. I really don't think you can ruin deviled eggs, but there are ways to elevate them to new heights. In Little Giants' case, the eggs were dusted with flakes of salt (um, fluer de sel?) with such intense saline flavor. It also provided a nice contrast in texture to the mushy yolk filling. I could have easily eaten another half dozen, no problem. I wish I had some right now!
Most people would consider that to be their appetizers, but all three of us brought very healthy appetites to the restaurant. So for the next phase of our meal, we shared a portion of white and wild asparagus served with a truffled omelet as was as the graze plate. I wasn't too thrilled with the wild asparagus, the tips had a gumminess to them, not unlike that of fiddleheads (which PSG had first tried at Carroll Garden's Crave and immediately disliked), but the white asparagus was out of this world! I don't know what made them so yummy, but they definitely had more flavor than you standard green variety. The graze plate was nothing overral fancy, but it was a solid mix of such deliciousness as chorizo, manchego, proscuitto, cornichons, Marcona albums, and quince paste. I love quince paste and I think I was the only one who ate it. It was my first time trying Tête De Moine, a Swiss cheese that requires a special cutter that scrapes out little ruffles that look like oyster mushrooms. It was nutty and earthy, but since we got such a small quantity to share, it was a little difficult to really grasp the full flavor of it.
For our main course Barf and I opted for the Berkshire pork chop, while Margie J ordered the dayboat scallops served with hazelnuts and declious pea puree. Talk about baby food for adults! The pork was served bone in, and also with a large piece of fat attached. Having never had Berkshire pork before I don't know if that's one of its selling points. It certainly injects a lot of flavor into the meat as it is cooking. I have to say nibbling on the rib was the tastiest part since that's where the meat was most caramelized. Our dishes were served with sweet and sour caramelized baby onions, a cinnamon and apple smash and awesome cracklins on top! They were so crisp but not so much that it would disintegrate when you bit down on a piece.
Sadly, our double fisted attack on the appetizers left no room for desserts, which ranged from spiked egg creams and adult milk and cookies. Next time, for sure.