In England once there lived a big
And wonderfully clever pig.
To everybody it was plain
That Piggy had a massive brain.
He worked out sums inside his head,
There was no book he hadn’t read.
He knew what made an airplane fly,
He knew how engines worked and why.
He knew all this, but in the end
One question drove him round the bend:
He simply couldn’t puzzle out
What LIFE was really all about.
… wrote Roald Dahl, a brilliant children’s author, and the man behind most of my favorite childhood stories and books. It was through Roald Dahl that I discovered witches, giants, and great, giant peaches. It was also through Mr. Dahl’s words and pages that I fell in love with reading.
When I walked into The Pig on a rainy Saturday morning, I wasn’t expecting to be hit with such nostalgia. How far I’ve come (really, not very far at all) for me to fall upon a Roald Dahl passage while stumbling, hungover as a skunk, into brunch the morning after my birthday celebrations.
The rain, the headache, and the story that greeted me at the entrance to the restaurant just made me want to curl up with one of his books. Thankfully, a warm wooden booth at The Pig with my dearest friends provided some of that coziness. Plus, it smelled pretty darn good in there.
I am typically not a fan of EatWell Restaurants. I think the menus are boring and the service is typically only slightly better than abysmal. With The Pig, however, they struck it perfect. Really. Everything is well thought out, from every single ingredient down to the pink paper that they printed the menus on.
But what I liked most about this place is its commitment to the swine. You can have eggs with any part of the pig you’d like. Boar lardons? Pork belly? Little pig? Big pig? How far we’ve come from, um, bacon with our brunch.
Funny enough, I first heard about The Pig through a vegan friend. “They have really great vegan dishes,” she whispered to me from across the brunch table, like it was a crime that she was even seen in such a carnivorous place.
It’s true, though. The brunch menu clearly points out its vegetarian and vegan dishes, and it’s not just what-do-you-want-with-your-cheese. This might be because EatWell actually has its own farm out in Maryland, and a lot of the ingredients are sourced from there.
For instance, the sweet potato pancakes were a great first impression. No pig there, but rather flattened sweet potato mash that’s perfectly fried and just greasy enough to cure that hangover. They looked a bit like latkes, and they were served with a crème fraiche.
Equally, the biscuits were just as satisfying that morning. Warm, baked with butter, and fluffy. They were served with honey butter and some of the better biscuits we’ve had.
I needed something to soak it up, so I went for a breakfast plate of spiced sausage, smoked bacon and eggs cheese grits. The sausages had a spicy kick and were round and small. In fact, everything on the plate was a small portion, but combined it made for the perfect sized dish—a bite of each thing.
The shrimp and grits comes with its shrimp head on, which I hate, but no one else seemed to mind. The shrimp were perched on grits and aged chorizo in shellfish-fennel broth. It was gorgeous when it arrived, but once decapitated, the dish got oily and messy.
Cori Sue’s beet salad was also gorgeously presented, with a bed of herbs and greens coated in a pomegranate reduction. It was surrounded by big wedges of purple beets layered with chef’s cheese—making it look like pink-and-white stripes and pleasing her perfectly. There were other salads on the menu, too, a few without pig, even.
We overindulged and got some side dishes. Maybe it was my need for grease, but the mac and cheese was, um, phenomenal. Covered with a baked truffle crust, the breadcrumbs sprinkled throughout the pasta when you took a spoon to it. It made every bite perfect.
The cauliflower arrived roasted and piping hot. They were served in (and probably marinated in) a lovely oil with pine nuts, currants, and pecorino cheese, then topped with more cheese. It was like another dish of mac n’ cheese had arrived, only it was cauliflower. I’ve never had such a tasty vegetable.
I think we were just so impressed by everything we had gotten so far, we decided to keep overindulging. So we ordered dessert. The crème brulee cake had a crispy sugary layer on top, but was smooth and creamy inside. The chocolate cake was rich, moist and crumbly, rather than your typical dense chocolate cake. It was topped with house-made vanilla ice cream dusted with nutmeg.
Throughout the brunch, our server (who was tall and attractive) was suave and polite and managed to be attentive without being distracting. He provided us with endless refills of coffee and water, essential for a post-birthday brunch. Lastly, it should be noted that in addition to the Roald Dahl nostalgia, The Pig also plays ’60s oldies tunes throughout brunch, which makes the place that much more fun.
The Bitches say: A. The pig products are delectable, the Southern-style cuisine unbelievably rich and comforting, and the vegetables fresh and local. Surprisingly, there’s something for everyone.
1320 14th St. NW
The Pig serves brunch Saturdays and Sundays.