Don Bauder 6:30 p.m., May 22
A Whole Different Animal in the East Village
Last night, I headed to Neighborhood in the East Village for an impromptu casual meal. I’ve been here many times and usually go with their reliable line of burgers. This time, I was in the mood for protein and something new. I opted for “The Local Animal,” a Berkshire pork dog butterflied and served on a fried egg-lined bun topped with mustard and molasses-glazed braised pork.
This ode to protein was absolutely delicious. The sausage was tasty enough to trump any average dog, brat or other such wurst, but when topped with that sticky sweet, slow-cooked pork, it was off the hook. The menu says Gruyere cheese and arugula come into the mix, but it was impossible to pick them out with only Neighborhood’s glowing red softball-sized orbs lighting the dim environs. Which brings me to my next point and your most likely question — why no pictures?
The odds of me being in the presence of something delicious and having no means by which to photograph it are slim. I carry around my Nikon like the thing’s going out of style. In truth, it’s rather cumbersome, but it’s been to more nice restaurants than most people I know. And even when it’s on break, there’s always my iPhone. In this case, it was too dark to take anything web-worthy.
Hopefully at this point, fellow foodie, we’ve built up some trust. If you’re looking for a heavy, flavorful dose of pork that thumbs its nose at square meal logic, The Local Animal is a beast worth wrangling. It’s for sure the best gourmet-style hot dog I’ve had in a long time (and I got back from eating an artisanal duck sausage roll at San Francisco’s Rosamunde Sausage Grill). Try it with a bottle of Hitachino Nest XH, Japanese strong ale aged in sake casks. Neighborhood is located at 777 G Street.