after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

The Pig Crawl [and Percy Street BBQ: A Taste of the South on South]

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t says: Last Sunday, g, kp, and I wanted to do a pig crawl. We wanted to sample some notable pig dishes and truly experience pig in all of its glory. We originally planned to go to DiNic’s (in Reading Terminal), Sampan, and Percy Street BBQ. Things don’t always work out as planned.

When the day began we actually found ourselves at Parc with even more friends! We’d gone there once before and, in preparation for our pig crawl, we exerted restraint in choosing our dishes. We opted for the pastry basket, a side of bacon, and a French75. That’s restraint, right? Starting off the day with some buttery pastries and fatty bacon chased by a bubbly cocktail? Sounded good to us! Plus, the bacon meant we were starting our pig crawl early! (which is actually why we ordered it). The pastry basket was delicious like the first time (although the chocolate croissant still had its rod of chocolate), and it included madelines! Sooo good. The bacon was only ok for me, as I like mine a bit thicker (and a little crispier), but the salty, smoky taste of it was quite nice, and, after all, who’s going to argue with bacon? The French75 was exactly as before, so g liked it a lot! Our friends sampled the pomme frites, pain perdu, the poached eggs, and the steak-and-eggs. By the end of the meal, not a single scrap of food remained, so I think it was a success. Good job, Parc. You might not be besting Cochon’s brunch, but you’re a good ol’-reliable.

As g, kp, and I readied to go to DiNic’s, we called ahead just to make sure they were open. It’s a good thing we did because they told us that they only had like 15 sandwiches left and that unless we were “in the area”, we probably wouldn’t get there fast enough. We appreciate their honesty. But that removed DiNic’s from the Pig Crawl! So we decided to take a little break (that pastry basket was quite filling) and skip straight to Sampan.

Sampan was very nearly empty when we got there (5:30). We were seated and enjoyed the Pork Banh Mi, Brussels Sprouts, and the Beautiful Boy sake. The Banh Mi was spot on (you go, Fernandez!) – I grow weary of raving about it, so you can read about it in all of our past reviews. g felt that the meat was the most tender it’s ever been – I felt that there might have been a tad too much cilantro – but it’s not like any of this prevented us from demolishing the sandwich. The Brussels sprouts were a little firmer than I’d like, but still tasty. The sake was as smooth as a baby’s bottom. When we were finished we got up and readied ourselves for the main event – a restaurant we’ve never visited: Percy Street BBQ.

5/2010, Sunday 6:30pm, Party of 3. When we arrived at Percy Street, I was impressed with how big it was. Maybe it was the open windows or something, but it just felt like a very large space! We were seated promptly and happily perused the menu. kp was happy that there was a roll of paper towels on the table – apparently that’s how they do it in the South. We ordered a PST sandwich, the deviled eggs, the mac-and-cheese, and a half-pound each of pork belly and pork spare ribs. We had no idea that this was WAY too much food for three not-starving people.

The mac-and-cheese and deviled eggs arrived first. The deviled eggs were classic deviled eggs. No dill (like Village Whiskey), no fancy add-ins (like Supper) – just eggs, mayo, and paprika. If there was anything else, my feeble palate missed it. They were quite good! Classic. I’m not sure how they got the filling to be so light and fluffy – but it was like an egg yolk cloud in my mouth. The mac-and-cheese came bubbling in a hot dish covered with nicely-toasted breadcrumbs. It was a nice, plain mac-and-cheese. Once again – no weird cheeses, nothing added to it – just mac … and cheese … It was also done well – the macaroni was a soft-but-not-mushy consistency, and the cheese was calm and smooth. kp and I wanted a little more flavor in the mac-and-cheese (maybe some sharper cheese), so kp requested his go-to fix-all, hot sauce. He was pleasantly surprised and satisfied with Percy Street’s selection of hot sauce: Crystal (apparently this is also the hot sauce that is used in the South). It perked up the mac-and-cheese nicely (although if I used as much as kp did, my mouth would still be burning).

When the meat came, I was a little worried that I was getting full … but I pressed on … for the sake of the blog. As the meat was set down, we were asked if we wanted some bread to make sandwiches. Sure! The waitress returned immediately with a basket of sliced white bread. kp was delighted by this as well, as apparently white bread is also how they do it in the South – no fancy baguettes, no brioche – this could have been Wonder Bread. And it worked beautifully. I put some pork belly on the white bread with some of the baked beans. Wow – that was SO tasty. The pork belly was soft and nicely streaked with fat (maybe a little too much for g’s taste – it’s a textural thing). The baked beans had just a touch of sweet and some nice heat and were firm enough so you knew were eating beans, not mush. So good. The ribs were no slouch, either (actually, opposite of my preferences, kp preferred the ribs to the belly!). The meat was super-tender and had enough smoky flavor that made you want to gnaw on the bone to ensure you got every last bit.

g’s PST was a pork belly-coleslaw-pickled green tomato sandwich. It tasted exactly as one might imagine it to taste – the pork belly was the same as I had ordered but the accompaniment of that pickled tomato and cole slaw added some sour and tang. I gravitated towards the belly-bean combination – g gravitated towards her sandwich. I kind of doubted that the belly-bean combo was that good and suspected that the atmosphere was altering my perceptions … Well, I took the leftovers home and ate it the next day; yep – still delicious. I have GOT to learn how to make pork belly like that …

The wait staff was very courteous and the food was quite good, so we liked our Percy Street BBQ experience overall. It was definitely fun to have BBQ-esque food that you could pick up with your hands. I have a feeling that this place could be kind of like a cheap Amada for us in the sense that it would be a blast to dine there with a group of friends. Of course, unlike Amada, the dishes aren’t as polished/refined, but BBQ’s aren’t supposed to be ; Percy Street wasn’t so chic-ified that it lost sight of the whole theme: down-and-dirty BBQ.

g says: Whoa there, cowboy! I wouldn’t go comparing psbbq to the almighty Amada. They are definitely not in the same galaxy of awesomeness. Don’t get me wrong, we did have a great time and really enjoyed our meal, but I wouldn’t get carried away. Are you with me, kp? Okay, I’ve said my piece – back to your regularly scheduled programming…

t says: That said, a true, Southern BBQ seeker I imagine will be disappointed with Percy Street because it’s not that down-and-dirty, but for someone who wants a slight touch of clean with their down-and-dirty (kind of like a down-and-dirty-lite), I think he/she will be satisfied – we sure were. Actually, we look forward to taking our dads there … between ribs (for my dad) and chicken (for g’s dad), I just can’t see how they wouldn’t like it!

Written by afterdinnersneeze

5 May 2010 at 1:25am

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