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The Breslin

Local pig farmers must have thrown the biggest barnyard rager ever when news broke that Spotted Pig Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield were ditching their initially failed fish experiment, The John Dory, and headed back to the swine. Everyone on the internet certainly paid attention. Hands down, The Breslin was the single-most hyped restaurant opening of 2009. Like college kids camped out before Bonnaroo, hungry food bloggers set up shop in the Ace Hotel lobby for weeks, drinking Porkslap Pale Ale and sleeping on couches as they typed, tweeted, and texted The Breslin’s every move.

Not to say that we weren’t guilty of blowing up @infatuation with pictures of pig foot now and again, but we definitely tried to not get sucked in by the hype. We hit The Breslin as much as possible before fully weighing in, which wasn’t an easy task. It’s obviously one of the tougher tables in town. Over a two month span, we hit this place several times, for brunch, dinner, and everything in between.

So what do we think? We fully expected to be head over heels for The Breslin, but truth be told, it’s all just a bit too much. The food is brutally unhealthy, rich, and hearty. Some of it is good and some of it not so good, but no matter what, it’s going to hit you over the head. Those Breslin induced meat sweats NY Times scribe Sam Sifton describes in his review? Those are for real. You'll be feeling this meal in your gut for days. Aside from the food, the service is terrible and cost The Breslin some major points. Forget about industry experience, it seems like they had an open casting in Washington Square Park, signing up anyone with tattoos, a dirty flannel, and a below average IQ. These are not the same seasoned vets you'll find at The Spotted Pig. These are hip-looking kids who belong in class, not making our $14 drinks. Speaking of drinks, I need one badly after writing this manifesto.

Food Rundown

Full English Breakfast
Consisting of a fried egg (one of the better fried eggs we’ve ever had), pork sausage, bacon, roasted tomato, and grilled mushrooms, this is one hell of a way to start off your day. In England.

Skirt Steak with Green Sauce & Fried Eggs
Good luck doing anything with the rest of your afternoon. This is not the kind of breakfast that yields productivity. The skirt steak was good, but not mind blowing. Again, the eggs here are fantastic.

Pork Scratchings
Fried pork rinds show up in a bag like they were bought from the market. Nice gimmick, and for five dollars, not a bad deal. A bag that size is definitely going to cost you more at Whole Foods.

Beef & Stilton Pie
Cute little beef pies that left much to be desired, they’re extremely dry and almost flavorless. Skip these and get down with something else.

Onion and Bone Marrow Soup
Similar looking and tasting to standard French onion soup, the bone marrow gives this an extra rich flavor that balances quite well with the parmesan toast that comes with it. A solid, albeit heavy, appetizer and possibly one of the only soups I’d ever recommend to share. All you need is a couple sips of this and you’re good to go.

Herbed Caesar Salad with Anchovy Croutons
Somehow even the lone salad on the menu manages to be rather filling. Huge romaine leaves lathered in dressing give this green a lot of personality. You could order this and the Bone Marrow Soup as your dinner and still end up in a food coma.

Smoked Pork Belly with Mashed Potatoes For Two
This isn’t that standard small piece of pork belly that most restaurants serve. No way. This thing is huge. My issue is that to get to the beautiful tender pieces, you have to eat through thick layers of fat. Yes, it tastes great, but you can feel the lard trickling down your esophagus and sitting in your belly for the next week.

Stuffed Pigs Foot For Two
They claim this is the foot of a pig, but this thing looks it came off a T-Rex. It could easily feed the entire Jets offensive line. As much as we wanted to, we just weren’t feeling the foot. The crispy, fatty pieces of meat in the actual foot part are incredibly rich, and the stuffed part of the foot tasted like meat loaf. Bad meat loaf. Also, spitting out pig toe bones during dinner...kind of nasty.

Lamb Burger with Thrice Cooked Steak Fries
Not a bad burger, but certainly not in the same league as The Spotted Pig's burger. Shaped like a hockey puck, this grilled disc sits neatly in a fresh sourdough bun - one that packs just a little too much bread. Medium rare seems to come out medium, but maybe that’s just how the lamb cooks? The steak fries are creating quite the buzz and deservedly so. The outsides are nice and crispy, while the insides are straight up mashed. Fries > Burger.

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