[Pigging by Wilfrid: August 10, 2007]
Damn, that's hot!
And we haven't got to the naked ladies yet.
Okay, let's get the nudity out of the way. Whoo-hoo, how ya doin' New Yawk City? Is Brooklyn in the house?
Yes it is, because we are in the Rockstar Bar on Kent Street, where Williamsburg meets the water, and...oh, pull your tights up Miss, behave yourself.
The Rockstar Bar, where glasses are plastic, where darkly cavernous rooms give onto unexpected pool tables and those games where you make loud thwucking sounds beating heck out of a puck. We aren't here for the beer, but because a back room behind the Bar strains to contain a business almost too big for its four tight walls: Pies-n-Thighs.
Let's worry about how to find it. If you get off the subway at Marcy Avenue, and avoid spraining your ankle on the concealed step at the bottom of the stairs, head back toward the river keeping the bridge on your right. Head down Broadway or S.6th Street until you can make a right on Kent. If you keep the bridge to your left, as might seem logical, you run into pedestrian-angry junctions and chicken-runs - and the chicken is you. Keep walking downhill like you're heading for a swim, until you see perhaps the city's most modest restaurant facade:
There's kind of a sign there, right? And just out of shot, there's a covered yard set with tables and chairs. Inside? There's a counter and a couple of stools if you need to get a really offensive smell of greasy smoke deep into your hair and clothes. Cat swinging is ill-advised, unless you plan to deep-fry the cat after you stun it. But place your order and the super-casual staff will haphazardly but effectively either deliver it to your outside table or find you inside with the beer and beckoning sirens.
How about getting the day started right?
That's a breakfast beer right there, about to wash down a plate of puerco poblano - pulled pork shoulder, with smoky-earthy chili flavor and creeping heat, an egg split over it, some salsa, some potato. A good cure, I would think, if you slept in the Rockstar all night, dreaming of mermaids in motorcycle caps and woke with a mouth like one of the ashtrays (damn, what are they for?).
Weekdays, the menu offers biscuits with chicken, eggs, bacon, from 11am. The pork dish showed up on the weekend brunch menu, which has also been known to propose huevos rancheros. I did wonder if the chicken biscuit involved a biscuit studded with pieces of chicken. No: the biscuit is sliced across and used to sandwich a full-sized breaded chicken cutlet. Just so you know.
But what biscuits, what chicken. Ordering the chicken "box" gets you some of the best fried chicken in town. The batter style is light, pale gold, crackly; the meat inside is unusually juicy. Straight from pan to basket, it should come with a warning sign. My first bite raised a blister on my lower lip - yow! For eight dollars, you get half a bird: a huge breast piece, leg, wing. Me, I'd only serve thighs and drumsticks, but there is no denying the moistitude of this breast; no dry cardboard here.
Oh, you get a biscuit too. Exceptionally good; big and biteable but light, fluffy. I can't think of a better biscuit in this town. And a side comes with the "box". Can I just get a mug of beans, please? These were up to the standard of everything else - rich, smoky, pork-ridden.
In case it's not clear, I am giving this high marks, and telling you to make the journey. Just let it cool a little first. The bar itself I was not so much in love with. The TV tends toward "The Simpsons" or whatever other shows look much like that, rather than sport. The music tends towards the hipsterish, as do the clientele. Service is not focussed like a laser-beam either. But I'm getting hungry again.
This is a nice sandwich, but not quite as trip-worthy as the fried bird. Pulled pork, slightly vinegary (not as much as I'd expected). Smoky, almost too smoky, just bordering on tarry. Pickles, a soft bun struggling to hold up. By no means something to be avoided, though.
Fresh pies are the other thing, as you might guess - I confess, I am not a pie guy. I went home with one of the biker mermaids instead.