Do you think he knows he’s the man?Photo: courtesy Jason Neroni
The stardust is already beginning to descend on new Brooklyn restaurant Porchetta and, in particular, its last-minute chef Jason Neroni. There are excited whispers among the foodies we know, an anonymous Eater post praising his early output, and numerous big-time chefs with plans to check the place out. (As for small fries like us, we’re going on Friday.) That’s all part of the game, of course, and no guarantee that the place will be making money a year from now. But if Neroni matches his aspirations, we’re fully expecting a restaurant-world shake-up.
Porchetta aims for nothing less than the domestication of molecular gastronomy. That scientific school of cooking has remained a mandarin pursuit, limited to a few hyperambitious chefs like Neroni and his master, Wylie Dufresne. But nobody really loves that kind of cooking — the geometric forms, the tiny portions, the too precious high-concept abstraction. Everybody, however, loves Italian food, which is thought to be one of the least challenging cuisines to prepare. If Neroni can truly combine the two schools, he will have begun to bring the culinary mainstream into the 21st century. Dishes like olive-oil-poached tuna with raviolini of sausage and apple, wilted spinach, and porcini juices, or skate with crispy pig’s foot, black-truffle crushed potatoes, and sour fennel salad sound just weird enough to be interesting, and just good enough to actually want to eat.
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