John Brandi 9 p.m., Sept. 17
Specialty of the House: Searsucker Entree
A Feast! feature in which your humble correspondent visits a restaurant and orders the specialty of the house.
"It's between the tongue & cheek ($26) and the butt ($24)," mused The Wife innocently after hearing our waitress's suggestions. She went for the butt, and she was glad she did.
As it happened, the butt was actually pork shoulder, but shoulder doesn't lend itself to appealing names. Who wants a chip on the shoulder, or worse, a cold shoulder? Butts, on the other hand, have been praised routinely since the time of Ovid and Jack Lemmon:
What arrived on her plate wasn't quite Jello, but it certainly didn't require a knife:
"I wouldn't normally order pork shoulder in a restaurant," she said after a few rapturous bites of meat that fairly glowed pink. "I can throw a pork shoulder in the crock pot and get something good. But this, this is worth going out for." Why? "Start with this cube of bacon - not crisp, but not fatty, just firm and delicious. I wouldn't know how to do this, and that's what I want when I go to a restaurant. These cubes of apple, also firm but not undercooked, infused with - I'm guessing cardamom? I can taste the parsley! And the liquid smoke is present but not overpowering."
Speaking of liquid (and hamhanded segues), kudos to Searsucker on the wine. If you're gonna charge $11 for a Slovenian rose of Pinot Noir, it had better be good, and the pour had better be generous. It was both, a glass full of wine, and a wine full of strawberry and bracing minerality:
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