The Dish: A Reviving Revival
Luxurious dishes call for a head-clearing cocktail
There is the unbeatable pork belly sandwich at St. James Cheese Company, with its garlic mayonnaise, shallot, arugula and soft Tellegio cheese on ciabatta. There is the exquisite pork belly appetizer at Dominique’s on Magazine, the delicate meat skewered to cubes of watermelon and gone in a single bite. And now, for those of us who’re obsessed with this most sinful of oleaginous meats, there’s the pork belly Cornhog at Company Burger. Step foot into the new Freret Street burger joint and you’re sure to see Chef Adam Biderman’s “Hogs For A Cause” trophy displayed near a choice selection of craft whiskeys. Do not be distracted by the allure of hand-ground organic Harris Farm burgers sizzling on the griddle beyond the counter. You must order your Cornhog, preferably with the best onion rings you’ll find between Napoleon and Claiborne avenues. The Cornhog is Biderman’s innovative, handcrafted corn dog for grown-ups, featuring his award-winning, gluttonous pork belly at the center rather than an anemic hot dog. Unlike its carnie cousin, the Cornhog doesn’t come dripping with grease. The pork belly is tender and rich, but not greasy enough to ruin your touch screen when the surgeon calls about your impending liposuction appointment. The breading is moist, not oily. When dipped in stone-ground honey mustard and washed back with iced tea, an overwhelming sense of ecstasy reveals that this truly is an adults-only corn dog. All condiments, from the Baconnaise to the honey mustard, are homemade, as are the pickles. The chipotle mayo is perfect for dipping onion rings, made here with red onions. The rings hold their shape, but are thin enough to be folded perfectly for dipping. Strangely, they retain the juiciness imperative to balancing the light, flaky batter. The mystery of great onion rings still eludes me, despite Company Burger’s open kitchen.
In New York the newest food truck fad is the lobster roll truck, and while I expect somebody to appear in the next year with a crawfish roll truck, fans of lobster (to which I ask, who isn’t?) will be glad to know that GW Fins is celebrating their annual Lobster Feast until October 29. Funny to think lobster used to be considered peasant food. Chef Tenney Flynn has devised a menu that pushes the boundaries of luxury. The tender lobster dumplings, served in lobster butter with fennel and tomato, are reason alone to reserve a table. The three-course tasting menu, at $47, is quite a steal and includes such elegant selections as lobster risotto, lobster roll in house-baked brioche and lobster bisque. Flynn’s lobster poor boy tossed in Crystal Hot Sauce butter, which won “Best in Show” at last year’s New Orleans Po-Boy Preservation Festival, will also be available. You may bring your own wine, but please don’t bring your own butter.
After these late nights of pork belly, lobster and accompanying libations, one may certainly wake up with a head full of cotton. For this ailment, there’s a cocktail whose name not only promises to raise the near-dead, but also welcomes the spookier side of October. Corpse Revivers, the family of boozy hair-of-the-dog libations named for their significant ability to revitalize the dead, were all the rage in pre-Prohibition America, and thanks to craft cocktail enthusiasts, have themselves been saved from an early grave. While the popularity of the original Corpse Reviver fizzled out over the years (perhaps because sipping brandy and calvados at brunch seems a tad rich, especially for those who feel like they’ve been hit by a shovel), the Corpse Reviver No. 2 is still regarded as a tasty, classic cocktail sure to remedy the brain-dead – just not your ex-boyfriends. A Corpse Reviver No. 2 combines equal parts gin, Lillet Blanc, Cointreau and lemon juice with a dash of Herbsaint or absinthe, served up with a cherry at the bottom (that you can imagine it’s an eyeball if it’s Halloween). The drink is delicious and fashionable, especially under the dim lights and adept hand of bartender Chris Hannah of the Arnaud’s French 75 Bar, when you’re in the French Quarter and must escape the walking dead.