Is the Best Brunch in Bushwick Built on Carolina 'Cue?
Smoked pork hash and the South Carolina Naptime
Photos by Laura Shunk, the Village Voice
When Arrogant Swine (173 Morgan Avenue, Brooklyn; 347-328-5595) first opened its doors in Bushwick six months back, we noted that it served components of a good brunch on its dinner menu — the sweet-potato waffle with boozy maple syrup, we said, would make a nice midday share. Turns out the waffle does make one hell of a brunch item — especially when it gets the kitchen's treatment here.
The restaurant specializes in Carolina-style barbecue, and is most notable for its whole-hog cooking — you can buy pulled bits of the pig it has over the pit by the pound or in sandwiches. Arrogant Swine also serves brown shoulder, a western North Carolina specialty that turns pig shoulder steaks into bark, plus mustard-glaze-slathered spare ribs and Vietnamese-glazed chicken wings inspired by the Vietnamese pitmasters that populate central North Carolina. You could have any of those things for brunch, and you should consider ordering a couple of them, plus maybe a side of mac and cheese, as supplements, particularly if you come for a large group.
At right, the banana pudding waffle
But Arrogant Swine really ups the ante for the midday meal — it doesn't just serve a waffle with syrup, for instance. Instead, it tops the breakfast pastry with banana pudding, caramelized bananas, and whipped cream. Unless you're of the under-ten set, you're definitely going to want to share it; it eats more like dessert than a meal. (Then again, isn't that what brunch is for? If you can't indulge your secret, misbegotten cravings — be they for sugar, fat, or booze — at this meal, when can you?)
And besides, you'll want to save room for the rest of this Carolina 'cue parlor's brunch list, which includes smoked pork hash crowned with a fried egg, and the Arrogant Montecristo, which pits bits of pig carved from the whole hog and smoked turkey against orange-blossom French toast and red-currant jelly. And then there's the South Carolina Naptime, which gets you a sandwich of a half-pound of pulled pork and slaw, and a gratuitous fried egg.
Paired to a beer or a strong cup of coffee, it's a brunch that puts daintier benedicts and frittatas to shame.
Though the space is cavernous, it's actually quite cozy on a cold morning, when families gather at the long tables and huddle over massive trays of food. It's also mellower than many of the nearby options, which means you probably won't have to wait for a table. Stick around long enough, and you might catch some live music, too.
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