My all-day Saturday class at NYU is pretty grueling, however, the school's proximity to the East Village and its bountiful lunch spot choices provides at least some consolation.
My new friend V. and I excitedly plan our lunch escapades, and after having sampled ramen (Ramen Setagaya), pho (Pho 32), and okonomiyaki (Otafuku) the previous three weeks, I suggested we venture to Porchetta for a pork fix.
A big hit among New York City's foodies when it opened a couple of years ago, I had been dying to try Porchetta's pork sandwich after a oouple of friends gave it the thumbs up. So what exactly is Porchetta? Their website provides this mouth watering explanation: "Roasted pork with crispy skin, highly seasoned with aromatic herbs and spices, garlic, sage, rosemary and fennel pollen. Typical plate of the Roman cuisine. Slow cooked Italian fast food."
Got that? All I can say to the proprietors of Porchetta is, "You had me at 'crispy skin'". For those of you out there who need visuals, is the image below sufficient?
Occupying a tiny storefront on E7th St., Porchetta's menu options are pretty much limited pork on a bun or with veggies on the side. Inside a glass display sat an entire side of a pig, glistening so that I couldn't take my eyes off, and the smell wafting through the air making me even more aware of my growling stomach.
Seating is extremely limited, but it was a nice spring day so we opted to devour our sandwiches on the benches outside. The description did say "slow cooked", so an order of patience is necessary as well while your porchetta is being prepared. It doesn't help to see other diners savoring every morsel of their meals, that's for sure, like the guy in the first picture. (Pretty nifty reflections too, don't you think, a technique I learned on a photo walking tour in Boston).
Finally, about ten minutes of salivating, the counter person called my name and I rushed in to grab our plates. The meat is quite moist and flavorful, the crispy skin crackling when your tooth makes contact reminded me how much I missed eating "bad" fattening pork dishes, cholesterol be damned. V. and I agreed it was quite filling, each bite heavenly. Slowly we trudged back to the campus building, discussing next week's lunch options and wondering which one could possibly top Porchetta.