Viking or bathing beauty? The whole roast pig at Back Forty.
The slight figure was borne in on a door-size wooden plank, bronzed as if having lain in the sun for a week of Spring Break, and furnished with a thick bouquet of forest-green herbs like an ancient Viking returned from battle on his rustic caisson.
No, it was only a whole roast pig at Back Forty in the East Village on Monday night, pig night, but what a whole roast pig it was! A friend had ordered an entire animal for our group of 10, and I have rarely seen a communal main course served with such ceremony. Of course, it was partly a matter of pig unwieldiness that caused the servers to do a little dance as they arrived at the table with the goods.
The pig was cut crosswise into thick slices, with skin on the outside of each slice, a rimming of moist meat, and a dice of meat mixed with flavorings in the center as stuffing. The pig was supposedly done like Italian porchetta, only fennel bulb had been used instead of more-pungent fronds, and the stuffing lacked the wallop of garlic and random organ meats that real Italian porchetta has. Of course, Italian porchetta is usually served cold from a truck, while ours was hot.
Our expert pig wranglers made sure everyone had a generous portion.
Prefatory dishes had included a good bowl of greens, a good bowl of black beans, an app of fried oysters in a well-dressed thicket of lettuces, and a heap of bread arranged around the pig’s head in a penumbral fashion.
Dessert was a root beer float. Excellent!
The entire meal, including a couple of drinks, tax, and tip, came out at $85 per person.