The East Village’s new quirky sandwich shop This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef
We’ve never been much enamored of the fabled artichoke slice at Artichoke Basille’s pizza parlor on East 14th Street, though we crave the Sicilian slice, especially if we can manage to get one in under 15 minutes from the charmingly disorganized place. Now the same kamikaze restaurateurs from Staten Island have come up with a new concept: a sandwich shop specializing in roast beef.
The highlight of Piggy’s pig-free menu is a Brooklyn-style Italian roast beef hero.
I rode my bike over to This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef not quite knowing what to expect. The place was somewhat forbidding, since the gate over the front window was stuck, and a crew of city firemen were at work with a “jaws of life” saw fixing it.
I forged ahead anyway. The menu is limited to three sandwiches, and a friend of mine and I ate two of them. The roast beef with mozzarella and brown gravy ($7.50) is, of course, modeled on the famous Brooklyn Italian roast beef hero, a wonderful mixture of base and divine ingredients (brown gravy and fresh mozzarella cheese can hardly be mentioned in the same breath).
This Little Piggy’s sandwich is superb–juicy and creamy and made with good bread. Though the staff is pleased to refer to the lubrication as “au jus,” it’s really just brown gravy, as it should be, with the heft and texture of 30 weight motor oil.
The pastrami sandwich ($7.50), too, is well worth ordering, even though you may feel indifferent about the slaw piled on top.
The pastrami sandwich is equally superb: unfussy, cut thick, spice rimmed, and the deepest color of red imaginable. The meat is deposited on soft seedless rye and dressed with cole slaw. Which is quirky, but fine.
There’s another roast beef sandwich dressed with Cheez Whiz which we didn’t try. (“I won’t eat Whiz,” my friend proclaimed as we scanned the short chalkboard menu.) Accompaniments include some rather pale and sawdusty fries (you don’t need ’em) and some potato salad dressed with mayo so thick it could be used as cold cream. ‘Nuff said.
149 First Avenue, no phone