Rarely have I ever witness a neighborhood embrace a restaurant so quickly and with such love as when Top Chef Dale Talde opened up his namesake Talde last winter in Park Slope. The place was immediately slammed, and eight months later continues to be operating at full capacity, well into the night, with a lively bar scene up front as well. It’s nice to see, and the food there deserves all the excitement.
Just as nice? The grand opening last Saturday of Pork Slope, Talde, Dave Massoni and John Bush’s rowdy, honky-tonk roadhouse-y joint, slinging cheap beer ($3 cans of Modelo!), plenty of whiskey, and a crowd-pleasing menu that delivers some of the best straight-up bar food I’ve had in years.
Pork Slope was packed on Saturday night when I went, teenagers in tow, and ordered about a third of the Pork Slope menu, everything coming out either solid and satisfying or, mostly, completely awesome. Here’s the thing though about Pork Slope: Talde and company really want this place to be a fun hangout/bar first, and a dining destination second.
So there aren’t a lot of tables, and a good portion of the not-large space is given over to a pool table, and the food-ordering system currently in place–wait on line, order and pay, get a number, find a seat (maybe), wait for food to be delivered by runners–can be a frustrating process at the moment, because the line is long and slow, and you don’t come to bar to stand in line, right? Anyway, if you’re patient, or early, or late (the kitchen’s open until 2:00 a.m.), it’s well worth eating at Pork Slope, say, tonight. If not, I’d wait a few weeks until the clamor dies down a bit, if it does.
Anyway, the food at Pork Slope. We loved the Fried Chicken, half a large bird for $14, the meat remarkably juicy beneath spicy, peppery, crackly skin. Also excellent was the Pulled Pork sandwich, really impressively moist and rich and balanced, the thickly-sliced toast not overwhelming the pices of rich swine. And the Wedge Salad? Devoured in about 35 seconds, mostly due to the sharp blue cheese and generously strewn chunks of thick, chewy pig.
Even the less exciting dishes were still pretty great, including the Tater Tots (a huge basket for four bucks, but maybe they could have been crunchier) and the Buffalo Fried Shrimp, which tasted mostly like vinegary hot sauce, which we love, but maybe the Chicken Wings make more sense in this category. It seems like you can’t really go wrong here, though. A great neighborhood hang, even if Park Slope isn’t your neighborhood.
Pork Slope is located in Park Slope, Brooklyn, on Fifth Avenue near Carroll Street, and seems to be open from 5:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m., daily, to start. Their website is incomplete as I write this, but more info and a sample Pork Slope menu can be found here.
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