Fair warning: these pictures are awful. This was the third “appointment” I had that night – first two separate press events, then dinner with a friend, and I semi-foolishly drove into the city to make things easier on me. The night was disgustingly muggy and hot – much like the weather has been in New York – and the first two events I attended had little or no food of which to speak, so I was starving by the time I arrived at Bourgeois Pig, plus I’m not sure their air conditioning was working. I had to ask my friend if we should leave because I was really uncomfortable without much air of which to speak in the fairly small space, and ordering hot, melting, gooey cheese seemed like overkill on such a disgusting night. I actually had to get up and leave before the end of the meal (with my friend’s full permission and understanding) because I was so overheated, aggravated and claustrophobic by the end of the meal (I was sitting on the inside). You can mock me all you want, but honestly, this is where I am eternally grateful to my friends for being so understanding and for having friends who can understand that I occasionally have severe panic attacks and need to leave a small, confined space. (The table next to me was so close that when I tried to go to the bathroom, my derriere knocked into their table… kind of embarrassing, but even worse was being able to hear – no, being forced to listen to their entire simpering conversation.) So, my point, which ties into the pictures being horrible? The lighting was terrible inside, I was super uncomfortable and unable to really focus, and I needed to eat, so I took the pictures very quickly so I could start eating. Not that even having an extra hour would have helped matters much – it was really dark inside, so I apologize in advance since you won’t be able to tell what you’re even seeing in these pictures…
My friend Chris and I have very different opinions on food. It’s fun talking to him about food because invariably, we seem to differ on what we like and don’t like… with some common ground, of course. In any case, I recently asked him for a quick rec, and he pointed me to Bourgeois Pig. It was a Monday night, and he said “Half price wine!” which… well… how can you go wrong?
(Note: the maitre’d was blocking the door when we tried to go in. There were three people ahead of us trying to go into the not-very-full restaurant, and he was carding them, but they just stood there while one of them dug through her bag looking for her ID. People, move out of the way. Let us go through first. Geez. He didn’t seem too concerned though and I was very tempted to act out in a more-than-feisty way… I blame the heat.)
Of course, since I’d foolishly driven into the city that night, I didn’t imbibe, but my friend totally drank an entire bottle of wine (minus one glass) herself.
When I looked through the menu myself at home, I’d already known what I wanted, though I took Chris’s recs into consideration… unfortunately, my dining companion was less interested in items with mushrooms. Ah well! We started with a sampler platter of bruschetta – two orders of the prosciutto and tallegio, and one fuji apple and cheddar.
The prosciutto was shredded and kept falling off my bites, while the tallegio tasted like tallegio… which I don’t like. Hah. No fault of anyone’s but mine for forgetting – I had a sneaking suspicion when I read the name, but ah well! As for the fuji apple and cheddar, I adore this combination and had no complaints with this… love, love, love!
Next up was the raclette – soft cheese scooped onto a hot plate with potatoes and onions. It was served with bread. Conceptually: awesome. Taste: pretty damn good. Sitting in a barely air conditioned room on a very hot & muggy day eating this? Not so much awesome or good. The potatoes were crisp in parts, cooked properly, and the cheese was nice and gooey; the taste was similar to a good Swiss or Gruyere for me, with that sharp edge that some may not appreciate. I would love to make this at home or try it somewhere when it’s cold out… or when there’s air conditioning.
A closer up shot of the potatoes.
Next up was the charcuterie plate. Very yummy meat options, and a lot more bread to continue stuffing face. Point to note: see the toasted baguette on the bottom of the picture? See the glistening butter? Don’t be like me and bite into one and have it leak all over the dress you’re wearing for maybe the 2nd time. Well, even if I was wearing it for the 100th time, I’d have been just as upset as I wound up being, getting oil on my dress. Be warned… there’s an excess of butter/oil here. (No… it didn’t come out, though the waitress happily obliged and brought me a cup of seltzer… and a white rag since their paper napkins are black.)
But the platter itself was lovely… this is the kind of stuff I can eat for an entire meal. (Once, twice, three posts) I was quite happy with the selection and accompaniments – gherkins, roasted red peppers, olives, mustard.
Onwards to our fondue, the whole reason I was even there to begin wtih! I chose the rarebit fondue, which was delicious. The combination was yummy, and plenty of cheese for all our dipping accoutrements:
Herbed potatoes, fruits,
a big bowl of bread products (pretzels, puffy bread pieces, baguette slices, etc.), and
a plate of sharply pickled veggies (a little spicy).
Our bottle of wine had originally been $80, marked down to $40… not bad (it retails for $25). The entire meal wasn’t super expensive – without the wine, all of this would have been less than $100 for two people – and I emphasize that the food was not bad. I just had a lot of trouble enjoying such hot/warming foods when there was no air conditioning of which to speak, and I was crammed in, surrounded by people talking way too loudly for my tastes.
***Please note that while I do not deny the notion that I’m a bit of a princess, I do not have air conditioning at home but nor do I eat melted cheese and hot potatoes at home in this weather either. So you may think this is a pointless review with crappy pictures where I just complain repeatedly about the lack of air conditioning, but honestly, if you read, I did like the food. I just made a poor choice of going for fondue and hot potatoes with cheese on a disgustingly hot day… since I presumed there’d be some sort of temperature control in the restaurant! (Ok, there must have been some, else it’d have been completely unbearable inside, and I’d have left.) I just believe firmly that meals should be eaten in comfort, particularly when you’re paying an outside establishment to create those meals for you (ie, I’m okay eating at home without air conditioning, that’s my choice, but I also know that going in…).
Yvo says: There is no way I could advocate returning to this place in this horrible summer weather we’re having – oppressively humid and hot – but I liked the food enough to consider returning in the winter. The atmosphere wasn’t to my liking, either – surrounded by people talking way too loudly over not-very-loud (or nonexistent) music – but hell, good food trumps all. Right?
avoid this place in the hot weather