For $38 (Including tax and a service fee), we enjoyed a multi-course, pig-centric meal. Added bonus? $9 specialty cocktails. Look, I realize that $9 for a drink may sound pricey to those of you outside of the five boroughs but, sadly, that's quite a steal for us locals. Or suckers that pay too much for everything. Whatever you'd like to coin us...
Despite the fact that we would not be sampling any of Wong's daily menu items, I was really looking forward to this large format meal. There was just something about the restaurant's casual, yet sophisticated, space that made me want to linger. I especially got a kick out of the chairs...They reminded me of those from grammar school. Perhaps it was those chairs, coupled with the long, communal tables that resembled desks, that really evoked the whole "being in a classroom" thing. Only this was a classroom where you could actually talk to your friends without getting scolded...and drink. A lot.
I whetted my palate with an excellent Tamarind Margarita (...that tasted even better at $9/glass). Rimmed with a blend of black sesame seeds, tamarind, and salt, an "old fashioned" glass was filled to the brim with this fragrant, exotic take on a traditional favorite.
The first course we received was the Pig Ear Salad. While I did take a lovely picture (ahem, see below), there was no way in hell that I was going to devour this dish. I took one bite and spit the ear out. It's not any fault of the kitchen/chef, I'm just not a big "offal" fan. And I guess I draw the line at pig ears. Sorry, y'all. But, please, do enjoy that pretty photo! Oh, and make sure to note the white "stripes" in each noodle-looking thing - that's cartilage!!
Just as I was about to start eating my chopsticks from hunger pangs, something arrived that warmed my picky little heart: Scallion Pancakes!
Are all scallion pancakes made with rice flour? Because these were greasier than most - along the same vein as Korean pancakes. Don't worry, it's not like that stopped me from eating my portion - and then ordering a second helping. Laced with plenty of melted scallion bits, the 'cakes were accompanied by soy sauce for dipping/dunking purposes.
The next dish to arrive was the Dan Dan Noodles. One of my most favorite things in the entire world...When prepared properly, of course.
Wong's version was constructed with ultra-thin ramen noodles. By "ultra-thin," I mean thinner than the noodles I've seen in most versions of Dan Dan - as in vermicelli-thin. Anyways, the gristle-free ground pork, crunchy scallions, and tangy - but not spicy - vinaigrette were fantastic and incredibly flavorful when combined.
And, come on, you already know that we ordered two more bowls of this deliciousness...
As if I hadn't already gorged on enough starch, the next item to arrive was the Fried Rice.
Moist, yet dotted with crunchy kernels, the buttery rice was chock-full of Chinese sausage and sauteed green onions.
For our "vegetable course," we received some sort of bitter green and baked squash/gourd.
I found the greens to have an overwhelmingly unpleasant rotten-fish taste. But my friends absolutely loved them and could not stop raving!
The baked squash/gourd, in my opinion, felt more like an afterthought.
I give this course an overall "meh."
And......drumroll please......the Roast Pig!
The seven of us were initially (read "initially") presented with two roasted pork-topped plates; one for each side of the table. Since I'm not big on gristle and/or spitting fatty bits in to my napkin, I didn't eat too much of the swine. However, I did enjoy a couple of bites. The rest of the table, on the other hand, went "hog wild" and ordered more plates.
...You bet your ass we got a picture with her!
Although a bit startled by our approach, Ms. Greene was gracious and seemed like a very nice woman. She even handed us 'post cards' advertising her newest books, which she claimed were "very similar to 50 Shades of Grey." Meowwww!
Just when we thought our night could not get any sweeter, dessert was served: Nectarine Financier topped with Pork Ice Cream.
Buttery, mildly sweet, dense, yet moist at the exact same time, the financier was divine. I wanted another, in fact.
Prior to taking my first hesitant spoonful, the pork ice cream was very intimidating. However, it revealed that it was only kissed by the slightest pork-y essense (smoky and earthy). Nothing offensive or overwhelming in the least.
What a fun, affordable, delicious, and star-studded evening we enjoyed together at Wong! Hey, if it's good enough for Gael Greene...
7 Cornelia Street, NYC 10014
Until we eat again,
The Lunch Belle