If you’ve tuned out of New York City’s dining scene recently (i.e., been on vacation in the Cayman Islands, or watching CNBC 24/7), you might have forgotten just how pork-obsessed this city has become. There have to be more pig products per square foot here than in any other part of the world, with the possible exception of the Tennessee farm of country-ham guru Alan Benton. Or maybe I feel that way because I just ate at Irving Mill, where chef Ryan Skeen has installed his very appealing pigaholic menu. Skeen was certainly pork-happy when he cooked at Resto, but because it’s a Belgian restaurant, attention had to be paid to other things, like mussels. At Irving Mill, he has no such restrictions. Four of the six Bites on his new menu feature pork, including a yummy Peruvian pulled pork sandwich—which is spiked with the not especially South American hot sauce harissa—and salt-and-pepper ribs. Likewise, three of the five small plates boast a pig part (like a yummy lobster salad with hefty chunks of grilled bacon); I won’t bother with the numbers on the sausage and pate section. Skeen goes for the gold, though, with the Charcroute platter: crispy pig’s foot, mini boudin blanc, mini boudin noir, terrine tete de cochon (the head), glazed shoulder, pork ribs, plus fried fingerling potatoes with creme fraiche and a bunch of mustards. And for those keeping score at home, the platter is even porkier than it appears—the crispy pig’s foot includes the tail, and it’s wrapped in the ear and then fried in tempura batter. It’s very delicious and even has a clever nickname—A Kick in the Head.
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