Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The (New) Black Pig

The Black Pig in the Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland had become one of my favorite restaurants. It consistently had good food, good service, delicious hand-crafted cocktails, occasional live music, and I've know the chef/owner for several years through my non-profit work.

When I heard that they were moving from their West 25th Street location to take over the empty Light Bistro restaurant space on Bridge Avenue, I wasn't sure what to think. We had always loved Light Bistro, but they never seemed to draw enough business. The location is just off the "beaten path" of Ohio City's main strip of restaurants/bars enough that, I think, it is often forgotten.

However, we've been into the new The Black Pig five times now (for drinks, a work meeting, and now dinner), and I'm happy to report that it has been packed every single time. Let's hope that continues! If the food is any indication, it'll do just fine. I've always enjoyed my meals at this restaurant, but our first meal at the new location might take top honors for meals from The Black Pig.

Between what we were ordering (my parents were visiting from NY), and a few complimentary surprises that Chef Nowak sent out from the kitchen, the food just didn't stop coming.

House Made Charcuterie Selection
Duck Confit Presse with Farro Puree, Stewed Prunes, and Foie Gras Mi Cuit
Corned Chicken Liver with a Beet Mustard, Frisee, Pickled Shallot, and Caraway
Blue Marlin Crudo with a Smoked Grapefruit Vinaigrette
Crispy Quail (a new addition to the menu)
Ham and Eggs (another new menu addition)
Of these starters, the only one that our group didn't care for was the Ham and Eggs. It didn't have a whole lot of flavor, and the poached scrambled eggs (I'd like to see how they did that) were a texture that we didn't like. The rest were outstanding, and I'd order again in a heartbeat. Favorites included the Quail, Chicken Livers, and Duck Confit.

I'm not sure how we did it, but we did find room to order entrees. Mr. H ordered the Choucroute Garni with House Fermented Red Cabbage, Potato, Carrot, and three different Pork Preparations.
It was delicious, and a fun way to nosh on pork prepared several ways.

My dad and I both ordered the Tagliatelle Bolognese.
They are making their pastas in-house, and the noodles were cooked to perfection. However, there was not enough bolognese sauce on the plate. It left the dish a little underwhelming, but the bites where I could grab a good forkful of sauce/meat were good. I think simply adding more sauce could help this dish significantly.

My mom honed in on the Roasted Golden Trout with Fregola Sarda, Pork Sausage, Swiss Chard, Frisee, and a Bacon Consomme.
It was very pretty to look at, and she quite enjoyed the dish.

Overall, an outstanding meal. My parents deemed it "one of the most memorable" of their travels to Cleveland. We feed them well when they visit, so that says a lot.

The small changes that they've made to the interior, both in the bar and dining rooms, helped warm the place up a bit. Still needs some art on the wall, but I bet that's to come. They now have private dining space, for special events and groups, which the old restaurant location was lacking. I've already hosted a work meeting there, and they did a great job. With more seating, free street parking (when you can find it- valet is also available), a private dining space, and dare I say...even better food than the original location (??)...I think that they'll do well in this new spot.

The Black Pig
2801 Bridge Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113