Part of my Series on Grub Street’s 101 Best Sandwiches in New York.
Beautiful spring afternoon, hungry, and roaming around the East Village… sounds like the perfect time for a pork sandwich. Running into Porchetta on Saturday afternoon can be tricky; the place is often busy. When we arrived there was no line and two open stools, when we left it was full and there was a line out the door. The girl at the counter was helpful, telling us newbies normally order the sandwich and the plate. We were newbies, so we ordered that. I also ordered some kimchi off of the specials menu, a little odd at an Italian joint, but whatever, I dig spicy vinegar.
The sandwich was decent, but it doesn’t deserve #10 in the city. It’s just a bunch of pork on a baguette. The baguette was tasty, but it had a real crunchy crust, so you have to be alright with that. The actual pork meat was delicious, unbelievably flavorful, tender, and juicy. Then there were the fatty parts, rendered out into deliciously juicy bits of porky goodness. The bites where you had the juice softening the bread with pieces of meat and fat were the absolute best. The sandwich was also topped cracklins. The cracklings were good by themselves, but I would rather not have them on my sandwich. It is a little much to have to tear through a thick baguette only to bite directly down a hard cracking. I ended up adding a bit of kimchi to the sandwich, which I recommend.
The Plate came with a heaping mound of pork, greens, and white beans. The beans and greens were fine. They were cooked well and tasted like greens and beans. I would have liked a little more to them, but as simple sides, they were fine. Of course, the pile of pork was insane. This time the cracklings didn’t bother me. Its funny how I can enjoy them when I can prepare myself to bite down on a rock.
I’m not a big fan of the sandwich acting simply as a way to hold a bunch of meat. I want veggies or sauce or some other layer that makes the thing a sandwich. This pork is delicious, and I think it could make a ridiculous sandwich (I’m thinking about that Torrisi turkey sandwich), but as Porchetta stands it is just pork on bread. If I ever go back, I will order a sandwich, dump the meat off, and eat it as a pile of pork with the bread on the side. I might try the potatoes or another side dish, but I’m a bit wary after the beans and greens. Honestly, though, I don’t think I’ll go back. If I want heap of pork, I’ll go get some barbecue, and if I want a crazy expensive Italian sandwich and sides I’ll go to Torrisi.