Porchetta: Pig-Focused Italian Lunch Counter by Alphabet City [CLOSED]

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Porchetta New York City

In the ’70s and ’80s, the area surrounding Tompkins Square Park was an epicenter for drugs and crime in downtown Manhattan. Thankfully, needles have given way to cappuccinos and armed robbery has been replaced with comfort food. Case in point: Porchetta. Matt Lindemulder and chef/cousin Sara Jenkins opened this pig-focused Italian lunch counter seven months ago on the fringes of Alphabet City. Jenkins lived in Tuscany and has ten years of Mediterranean cooking experience. Lindemulder most recently worked the front of the house at Olives on Union Square. The duo’s seemingly simple venture ended up delivering the week’s most memorable dining experience.

The cousins’ streamlined operation features a glass-fronted storefront with a wraparound counter, tile floors and plenty of pig imagery. In addition to the brass sign hanging over the register, you’ll also find a black-and-white pig mural. Order at the counter, grab a seat and await porcine nirvana.

At Porchetta, Jenkins wraps pork loin with the belly and cooks it for six hours until the Hampshire hog achieves a crispy cracklin’ skin and luscious core. The “slow cooked fast food” is stuffed with garlic, sage, rosemary and wild fennel.

Porchetta is available in a sandwich ($9) or on a plate ($14) served with tender cannelloni beans and subtly bitter cooking greens that cut through the richness of the pork.

As good as the porchetta tasted, the day’s special – Slow Cooked Pork Ragu w/Grilled Ciabatta ($8) – was even better. Chunks of pork were cooked for 6-8 hours with tomato, Sangiovese and chilies until rich and ultra tender, then served over grilled slabs of olive oil-brushed ciabatta. This was easily one of the best pork dishes of all time.

Of all the New York City restaurants we sampled throughout the week, Porchetta was the one we could most use in Los Angeles, and that includes Peter Luger.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

Can’t wait to try this place! I walked through Tompkins Square Park today and it looks like gentrification has done good things to it.

Tompkins Square Park isn’t nearly as menacing as it was in the ’80s, or even the ’90s. It’s also become a haven for interesting, low-priced restaurants and cafes.

you should have tried to crispy potatoes with burnt ends (crackling)–amazing

I’m sad to have missed the the hog-loaded potatoes. That’s definitely a regret, and an excuse to return to Porchetta.

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