Getting married called for some serious celebration. [More on that in future posts.] Having close friends and family in town for the weekend created four straight chances to party, the first of which was Thursday night. No, I didn’t have the kind of bachelor party that was in “The Hangover.” Instead, I joined my father, brother, brother-in-law and my most of my long-term friends for dinner. Of course the chef had to be somebody who makes food I trust, preferably meaty, and of course the restaurant had to have plenty of alcohol. Enter Pete’s Los Angeles, the latest Old Bank District spot featuring an evolving menu from Chef Josef Centeno (Bäco Mercat, Bar Ama + Orsa & Winston), who recently retooled the restaurant with Pete McLaughlin. Large groups call for set menus (3 courses for $50 or 4 courses for $60), which wasn’t a problem, since set menus call for large format meat, including standout Suckling Pig.
According to Chef Centeno, he brines each suckling pig for a few days and steams the baby animal until tender, which typically takes 5-6 hours. He and his team chill the cooked pig so the skin and meat set. Next, the pig enters a dryer for 4-5 minutes, so the skin starts to crisp, and spends another 10-15 minutes in the oven to finish the job. Pete’s staffers serve the crisp-skinned, juicy pig in a decorative (as possible) pile of key parts, including head, shanks, belly, ribs, and trotters. The mound of pork arrived on a bed of fresh coco, Lima and cannellini beans, which Chef Centeno stewed with guanciale. To help tame the rich platter, he adds thin-sliced, sweet-tart kumquats, and a shower of scallion shavings. This dish was a show-stopper from a menu of show-stoppers, but what the hell, the occasion clearly called for excess.
Dose of Vitamin P spotlights my favorite pork dish from the previous week.