Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Pig Ate My Pizza – Robbinsdale, MN

D.Rough and I kept hearing about this amazing restaurant in Robbinsdale and just couldn’t find the time to go. We knew it was established by the guys who ran Travail – a fancy restaurant we kept hearing about, due to their wicked gastronomy experiments and appreciation of fine food. We were almost in the neighborhood and decided we needed to check it out.

You enter the restaurant through the back and go to the bar to put your name on the list. I’m not sure how they keep track of who gets to sit when, but I will tell you that smaller groups get to sit first, so consider that. The inside is arranged with long communal tables and one elevated booth referred to as “the hot tub” (the hot tub has furry walls and an extremely narrow walkway to get into the tub – but looks like fun).

We got called quickly, since we were only two people and got a seat at the bar – which was crazy fun to watch it all unfold. We had a great view of the kitchen, which was also really fun. The people working all seemed to be having a good time at their jobs – singing along with the music and yelling “WE GOT A BENDER HERE!” every time someone ordered a Surly Bender. Really fun place to experience the atmosphere at Pig Ate My Pizza. It’s got a loud energy, which isn’t going to resonate with some people who like quiet dining. We also got pink cloth napkins. So it’s upscale, but with a smirk.

All the menu items, including appetizers, beers, and wines , are on the chalkboard walls of the place, so you'll have to look around to decide what you want. thankfully, they're repeated in at least three different locations, so you shiould always have some sort of vantage to see at least one of them. Or you can stare at them while you're standing in line - you may be there a while. So grab a drinnk at the bar and maybe some appetizers while you're waiting. They'll bring them right out to you.
We asked the server a few questions about the different options and she suggested we go with the Tasting Menu. You get three appetizers of the chef’s choosing, two different pizzas of your own choosing, and then dessert. This all sounded great to us. Choosing a pizza sounds like an easy task, but it really isn’t. These guys like odddddd combinations. It isn’t a typical pizza place. In fact, it’s probably best referred to as advanced culinary cuisine. We decided on the Piggy Pizza – pepperoni, house-made sausage, bacon, in a deep dish brioche crust – and the Big Ginger – Korean BBQ, kimchi, soft eggs. Some of the other options include chevre, prosciutto, gazpacho, cured salmon, potato salad, mini tacos, beets, zucchini, speck, and other random things. I told you this stuff was advanced.

The appetizer course came out and the server explained it all to us. There was a generous-sized microgreen salad with some croutons and nice Caesar parmesan dressing. There was a meat plate with duck liver pate, two house-made hams (one cubed and one shaved thin like prosciutto), and rabbit terrine. It also had three of four different mustards, a dollop or three of hot chili oil, some brandied cherries, cornichons, crostini and focaccia. And a bowl of soup, which was presented in a very classy manner. The bowl is presented with some herbs, green oil, and pumpkin seeds and almonds in the bottom. And a tiny grilled cheese sandwich in the bottom of the bowl. Then the server poured the tomato bisque into the bowl to cover the ingredients – very classy. We asked the server what his favorite was and without hesitation, he said the meat plate, specifically the duck liver pate.

The salad was good and had some sardines, and parmesan croutons, and the caesar parmesan dressing helped jazz it up a smidge. I liked it and D.Rough liked it. The meat plate was really quite good. The duck liver pate was covered with a little black pepper. Very smooth and creamy, especially paired with some of the crostini. Delicious. The hams were quite good and we only fought over them a little bit. The rabbit terrine was really good. I wish it had a more substantial meaty flavor, but this is rabbit, not beef or pork. It was good, but I agree with the server and think the duck liver pate was the champion.

The tomato bisque was awesome. Really stand-out awesome. We wished there were a few more grilled cheese bites in the bottom, but if the idea of an appetizer is to make you want more, then this nailed it. The pumpkin seeds/almonds in the bottom were delicious and the green oil had a nice flavor with it. And combined with how they presented it, this was fantastic.

The pizzas we ordered arrived. The piggy pizza was fantastic. Large pieces of pepperoni and thin slices of bacon that was almost lardon. The house-made sausage was spicy and delicious as well. There was only a small amount of cheese on this pizza to hold it all together, so if you’re a cheese person, be prepared. The meat flavor was not the watered down kind of stuff from pizza chains – it was really quality stuff. The crust was the best part of this pizza, and this is coming from a toppings guy. Almost a muffin or biscuit-like crust. A game-changing crust. Delicious, from start to finish.

The Big Ginger pizza was not like any pizza I’ve ever had before. The small meatballs had an incredible Asian glaze on them that was wonderful. Then the kimchi (mostly pickled carrots) added some spicy zing to it. And the eggs were even better than we expected. We knew this was one of those pizzas that wouldn’t likely reheat well, so we made sure we ate all of this one first. Really, a quality pizza.

We were expecting dessert next, but the server came out with a pre-dessert. The idea with a pre-dessert (or so D.Rough says) is that it’s supposed to shock your taste buds a little bit and move you mentally past the entrée portion into dessert mode. This makes sense, especially after I describe what they brought to us. It was two tiny cubes of awesomeness. The server laughed when I asked him if it was a “one-biter” or a “three-biter”. He assured me it was a one-biter. The bottom of the cube was a black pepper crust. On top of that was a cantaloupe curd and covered with a dill crème. Sounds odd, doesn’t’ it? It was. It was also mind-blowingly delicious. I guarantee I’d never put any of these things together on my own, let alone know how to make cantaloupe curd, but whoever came up with this idea was a mad genius. Thank you.

Then the actual dessert came out and presented uniquely. And it was fun. It was a frozen mason jar with honey mascarpone in the bottom along with orange crème en glaze, and salted caramel. Then the server squirted some banana cake into the jar. Finally, he pours some liquid nitrogen into the jar that freezes it all solid. A+ for presentation and also A+ for flavor. This was one of the better desserts I’ve ever had. Tons of different flavors and just the right amount not to be heavy.

Here is the Vine video that D.Rough made at the restaurant. This should give you a 7-second version of how much fun we had at this restaurant.

Top 5 things about Pig Ate My Pizza
1. Big Ginger pizza
2. Salted caramel dessert
3. Meat plate
4. Piggy Pizza
5. Atmosphere all around, including awesomeness of staff

Bottom 5 things
1. You will wait in line, especially if you have more than two people (it’s worth it, though)
2. You may not be seated at a table with just your friends, just a heads up
3. It’s going to be louder than some people will enjoy, but think of it as energy, not noise
4. Doesn’t take reservations
5. Make sure your name doesn’t get passed up on the chalkboard of names next to the beer taps at the bar

And, D.Rough had a meat grinder next to her at the bar.


Anonymous said...

When you say orange crème en glaze, do you mean crème anglaise?

hanna said...

you say orange crème en glaze, do you mean crème anglaise
Funny Pictures