The Pandering Pig New York | Feeling at Home Once Again
pander: gratify or indulge to an immoral desire, need, or habit or a person
Located in Hudson Heights of New York City, The Pandering Pig serves up a carefully planned menu of creative renditions of classic French dishes with a personal and unique spin of Northern California mix. The new distinguished creation, ‘FreNoCal’, coined by Executive chef and owner Nicole O’Brien and her husband, wine director Senator O’Brien, means Sonoma-influenced French Northern Californian cuisine. With their restaurant and amazing menu, they aim “to create this one-of-a-kind dining experience providing New Yorkers with the ultimate culinary oasis”, definitely gives everyone something to pander to and a valid reason to do.
Tucked away on an avenue with mostly apartment buildings, and with a storefront mainly covered with plants, The Pandering Pig can easily be overlooked and mistaken as something less of a desire or temptation. However, the modest exterior is the complete opposite of what they have to offer. Walking in, the essence of a home with a warm and cozy feeling immediately hits. You will start to wonder if a fireplace is hidden somewhere waiting to be revealed. The interior design and décor make the ambiance even more homey and intimate. The rows of framed black and white photographs, strategically and perfectly placed on an exposed brick wall, make you feel as if you are walking down a hallway with family portraits and photographs of ancestors hung on the walls in someone’s house, creating a strong sense of home and history. It surely is a place to stay and dine for a while.
lure: tempt (a person or an animal) to do something or to go
somewhere, especially by offering some form of reward
To continue on with the pandering journey, food is a must! Appetizers like the cheese board or pate board is a way to start off the dining experience, to share amongst two people or several orders with other appetizers to share with a bigger group. The pate board consists of foie gras, duck rillettes and charcuterie served with brandied cherries, dried fruit, nuts and toasts and pairs perfectly with a 2017 Chateau Grand Boise Sainte Victoire Cotes de Provence wine. The Roasted Brussel Sprouts is served with an overflowing amount of melted blue cheese over it, giving a creamy exterior to enwrap the roasted flavors of each brussel sprout.
The Red Lentil and Apricot, like a home-cooked soup, warms the heart and body with its rich flavors. The Sea Scallops Soup, with lightly seared scallops, served in a pool of sauce, making this dish a soup and an entrée at the same time. The scallops from California are extremely soft and fresh, which brings a natural sweetness of seafood to the sauce/soup. You can accompany each bite of scallop with a spoonful of the soup, and it wouldn’t be too heavy, or to make it less of a soup, you can soak the sauce up with bread provided on the side.
The Grass Fed Lamb Shank is braised in white wine and fresh rosemary served over creamy polenta and vegetables on the side. The meat is so tender and it falls off the bone with a light stroke of your fork. You probably would not even know it’s lamb because there is no gamey taste yet it’s still extremely moist and full of meaty flavors.
The Grass Fed Short Rib Bourguignon is the same with the texture of the meat. Served over parmesan garlic mashed potatoes, it added the right amount of extra texture and flavor to the short ribs. The Orzo is a great light dish to go along with the meats of the entrees. The orzo comes with cremini mushrooms sautéed with buttery sage, parmesan and cream.
The Pandering Pig allows you to indulge in food as well as its extensive list of wines and drinks. The 2015 Chateau Le Bonnat Graves, a wood-aged wine from the Northern part of the Graves appellation, is dense, rich with black fruits and lifted by a light acidity. The 2015 Chateau de Bellevue Brouilly, comes from vineyards surrounding a stylish 19th-century chateau in Brouilly, France. With its bright red-berry fruit, the wine is crisp and only lightly structured. Both of these wines paired really well with the meats and enhanced the flavors to new levels.
The Pandering Pig is the comfort zone, and the home in guests’ deepest desires, something they keep going back to. They have become the ‘pandering pigs’, people who have been searching long and far for something whether it was initially just for food or a place to satisfy their needs and cravings. They have realized stumbling upon this restaurant, and with no plans to leave this comfortable and pleasant place, have left them more satisfied than imagined or what they believed and expected deep within, thus becoming a habit.