Porchetta is a newcomer to Smith Street, but it’s winning us over fast. The restaurant’s name means little pig, taxidermy-inspired sculptures adorn the zebra-painted, pig-stenciled walls, and, yes, the menu encourages wallowing in pleasures of the flesh—pig flesh that is. Chef Jason Neroni, most recently of the hallowed 71 Clinton Fresh Food, sends diners to heritage hog heaven, cooking up a very rare breed of pork called the Red Wattle, delivered by those champions of pastured protein, Heritage Foods USA.
Willy-nilly bacon kisses are on every chef’s lips lately, but a pork margarita?
“It’s not on the menu, but when you sit down, it’s the first thing the server tells you about,” explains the bartender, Adam Cain. “Some people get it because it sounds great, others because it’s so out there. Everyone orders a second, pretty much always. Last night I sold 50.”
So…what is it? “The food here is so important,” Cain continues, “we don’t want to destroy people’s palette’s before dinner. We put in fresh tangerine juice, a whole lime and a splash of Cointreau.” The tequila is smoky and woody. But there’s one more twist.
You see, Porchetta goes through a lot of pigs (check out their special monthly pork-tasting dinners including, yes, pork for dessert) and hates to see a single mouthful of trimmings go to waste. So every other day, Jason dries the skins for four hours, puts them in the food processor with lots of salt and a little black pepper, and voilà, the perfect finish for a pork palace margarita: cracklin salt. “This cocktail says Porchetta from nose to tail,” says Neroni, speaking figuratively and literally.
“Everyone loves it,” reports Cain. “You can tell because they always drink their way around the whole rim.”