[Pigging by Wilfrid: Octiber 19, 2009]
Where the Pink Pig leads, Michelin follows, awarding Shaun Hergatt a deserved star a couple of weeks after I described SHO as "one of the most accomplished openings the city has seen this year."
And before you knew it, it was one of John Mariani's best new restaurants in Esquire magazine too.
It's salutary to think that initial disregard from print critics, followed by an inadequate and brief notice in the Times can be turned around - certainly not by this site alone, but by other online appraisals (e.g. NYJ) and word of mouth among those who really care that this city preserves a few quality fine dining options among all the re-invented burgers and deluxe fried chickens.
So anyway, I went back with friends who hadn't experienced SHO before, and was glad to see the dining room just about full on a weekend evening (one might think weekends less promising in the FiDi). Of course, the restaurant has a lot of space here - bar dining, a long table just off the wine cellar - so it takes some filling up.
The restaurant pleased discerning palates again (see the comments beginning here).
No full review again, but I note that the menu has evolved. The much liked yogurt-marinated poussin has taken a break. I don't recall seeing before this tower of sweetbreads interleaved with crisp eggplant wafers and ringed by dabs of aged balsamico. I'd been tempted by the salad of autumn figs, but ended up falling for the offal.
I also tasted a silky Scottish salmon, lapped by basil broth and accompanied by shimeji mushrooms and tatsoi.
Following the sweetbreads, I'd chosen the three-day short ribs. The brick of molten meat is crusted with hazelnuts and cranberry - the latter slightly less noticeable. My first reaction was that the meat, perfectly cooked, was under-seasoned - and perhaps it was, but introducing it to the richly flavored reduction eliminated any worries.
I'm a sucker for a parsnip purée too.
The wine-list remains a bit of a challenge if you're flying under the first growth level, but the sommelier turned up a $100 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which drank just fine with the meats.
As it happens, I met chef Hergatt at the Food and Wine Festival the very next day.* He strikes me as someone who's in this for the long haul. Three courses, $69 - how many times must I tell you?
*No, disclosure mavens, I was not recognized at the restaurant.