Spotted Pig May Have to Find a Roquefort Alternative

By
Photo: Kate Attardo

April Bloomfield’s head chef, Nate Smith, is hoping the Spotted Pig’s trademark burger won’t be affected by an in-the-works 300 percent tariff on European luxury-food items like Roquefort cheese (his purveyor, Dairyland, is trying to minimize fallout), but if it comes to either raising the price above $17 or finding a domestic alternative to Roquefort, he plans to do the latter. “I think that’s where we’re headed,” he tells us, in which case there will be tastings of replacements such as the ones Murray’s is pushing.

Meanwhile, you may have heard from UrbanDaddy that a special featuring the fatty meat of the Mangalitsa pig will be hitting the menu tonight (pork belly with prunes, trotters, and mashed potatoes). [Update: The dish sold out just an hour into service!] But will the adorably woolly lard-type pigs taste much better than other varieties of heritage pork currently on offer? Chef Smith says some will think yes, others no — either way, the taste is unlikely to blow you out of the water. “It’s an awesome thing that these guys are saving a breed from going extinct,” he says of Mosefund Farm. (According to Saveur there were only 200 left in 1991.) “But they’re going to meet a lot of challenges based off of what the product costs.”

If you want more bang for your buck, you might want to try a plate that was added a couple of months ago — the pig’s head (referred to as “bath chap” when it was a special, but customers found that confusing). Here’s how it’s made: A pig’s head is deboned, then cut in half, then brined for three days, then rolled and entwined, then braised for six hours, then cooled, then rerolled and tied up like a sausage, then hung in the walk-in for another day, then lightly smoked for 45 minutes, rehung for two more days, then breaded and fried. The result: a patty containing ear, cheek, jowl, and tongue meat that (paired with lentils and cabbage) goes for $21 — a relative steal considering it’s the result of a week’s work. After digging in, you may just be singing the Spotted Pig's unofficial theme song!