>> Thursday, June 27, 2013

70-28A Austin Street
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 575-0070

The Flying Pig on Austin Street is the most recent addition in the area's gastropub explosion, following right at the heels of Station House, two blocks away. I finally made it to The Flying Pig for a brew and a bite the other day and was both impressed and slightly irritated. I shall expound. 

Flying Pig's downside is, in one sense, trivial and shallow, and in another sense, important. Flying Pig, basically, feels like a chain restaurant, albeit one of the better ones. Stepping through the front door, the interior is massive. It's hard to believe that not too long ago this was a Johnny Rockets that felt half the size. When coupled with the very new, very cookie cutter furniture, virgin walls, cold and modern ceiling, and the relatively bright interior (my pics do not reflect this, I admit) I got a vibe that was something a bit flat and hollow. Gastropubs should be dark, a bit cramped, smell like an oak two-by-four that's been soaked in an IPA, and look like they were designed by a guy who likes steampunk cosplay. At least that's the way the ones in my head are. The Flying Pig does, to its credit, have the necessary Edison bulbs, but... I dunno. Maybe the walls are too bare. Toss up some art or something.

Anyway, that's all secondary because they get everything else spot on. The menu is nice and small. They don't hand you some jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none phone book of choices trying to appeal to every niche the way some places do. The beer list is very large with at least 20 on tap and about as many in bottles. The whiskey list is larger with around 50. The staff was very friendly and the food, the reason you're here, presumably, was pretty damn good.

Bro started with the Pork and Beef Meatballs, ground pork and ground beef in a chicken au jus with a pistachio crust in tomato sauce. We both liked them, but thought that they were too small. At $11 for the appetizer, the cost per 1.5" ball comes to $2.75 a pop. I tried the Duck Confit & Snails. Shredded duck (can it be confit if it's shredded?) under a fried egg, with three snails around the perimeter. I liked it. Bro, not so much. Still, I thought that the duck and the egg worked well together in a way I haven't seen elsewhere. The broth it was in was a wee bit too salty and the snails were a complete waste of time (utterly tasteless), but I'd definitely recommend it.

The entrees were also tasty. My most recent experience with pork chops was at the uber-trendy Sons of Essex (up on the main blog soon) and they were as dry as a bone. Pork chops are admittedly tough to make. One error and you're left with a slab of meat that's both as hard as a brick and as rubbery as a Pink Pearl. Nevertheless, putting many previous experiences aside, I took the risk and ordered the Prosciutto Wrapped Double Cut Pork Chop ... and so should you. "Prosciutto wrapped" might be an exaggeration. Prosciutto topped is more accurate. The chop sat on a smoked gouda gratin with haricots verts and shredded apple. The "double cut" refers to it being butterflied on the plate. It was extremely good. Not dry, not tough, not salty, not sitting in a soup of broth. The gratin was smooth and delicious and the green beans and apple gave the dish good balance. Bro got the Pan Roasted Chicken Breast under a teepee of duck fat potatoes and cider carrots over a romesco (nuts and pepper) sauce. It won't beat Danny Brown's in a fist fight, but it was tender and impressive. The interior was moist and the exterior had a nice, seasoned crust.

Two appetizers, two entrees, a soda, and two beers, plus tax but not tip clocked in at about $80. Not cheap, but at least not pushing me me into living in a van down by the river. I don't think either of us were expecting the uniqueness of the menu, which is clearly filled with a degree of experimentation that I personally appreciate. It does get boring seeing the same ol' same ol'. The food's good, the drink list is good, the service is good. If they just updated their interior, I'd be in flying pig heaven.


Susan June 28, 2013 at 9:27 AM  

This is the most positive review I've read on The Flying Pig to date. A widespread complaint has been portion sizes.

Nothing worse than dropping a decent amount of money on a bill and leaving hungry (ala Thai Q, back in the day).

With that said, your entree photos represent decent portions (although perhaps a bit skimpy on the duck-fat fries).

Hopefully this means that The Flying Pig has been listening to the masses. Previous photos that folks shared (Tuna entree, Salad appetizer) required a magnifying glass.

I may actually need to venture in.

Anonymous,  June 28, 2013 at 10:54 AM  

those portions for the mains are small. i had the same duck egg app as you and the snails were tasteless. its like they americanized them by taking all the sliminess out. are you sure it was only $80? That sounds cheap considering you had two beers and beers are $7 and up. i noticed the generic steampunk motif too. A new place in the city boulton and watt has teh same type of fans and the staff wearing suspenders so i wonder if thats just some cookie cutter design option you can pick when building a restaurant, although boulton and watt pull it off much better.

Jon Parker June 28, 2013 at 2:03 PM  

Personally, I thought that the entree portions were just the right size, though the meatball app was very small. As for the price, well to be fair, we did order the two least expensive entrees other than the burger ($19 and $23 I think) and only had one beer each. More drinks and more expensive entrees would certainly have sent the price up.

Susan June 28, 2013 at 2:59 PM  

Thanks for clarifying re: Portion sizes Jon. From your photos, the protein portions for the entrees look to be plenty. Not huge portions but as you said, "just the right size".

I've seen previous photos someone took of the Tuna entree and it was sad to say the least.

The sides (fries, vegetables) are on the skimpier side. I just hate to see that based on so many of the comments/reviews this place has seen. Throw some more string beans and fries on those plates!!

Susan July 12, 2013 at 10:19 PM  

Just back from my first dinner at The Flying Pig.

When we arrived at about 8:15 pm the place was hopping. Both the bar area and the dining area were pretty packed, although we did not have to wait for a table (the restaurant was larger than I expected it to be, with a ton of seating).

I personally like the look of The Flying Pig, but the acoustics are horrible. This place is seriously loud.

Our waitress was lovely, if a bit inattentive. We had our drinks well before anyone stopped by to fill our water glasses. It took ~ 20 minutes before a bread basket was brought to our table.

For the most part, with the exception of the noise level, which made conversation extremely difficult, I don’t really have a problem with most of this. Sure, it would have been nice to have gotten our water glasses filled sooner, but it’s not a deal breaker.

Friend and I shared two appetizers
(1) Baked clams. Portion size was fine – a total of 6 clams. The breadcrumbs were seriously lacking any seasoning and were dry to a bone. The one wedge of lemon was hardly enough to give these clams any moisture. While the clams themselves tasted fine, the dish is a total fail. It almost seemed as if the breadcrumbs were simply added on top to the cooked clams.

(2) Mussels with Chorizo. Simply not good IMO. This dish arrived lukewarm, and the chorizo looked downright cold and un-appetizing. The sauce the mussels were in was flavorless.

The bread they brought to the table was delicious, although it was accompanied by olive oil that I could have done without (the flavoring was reminiscent of scallion).

I had a cheeseburger and the burger itself was good, as were the fries. I asked for my fries not to be salted (they were absolutely salted), but overall, I’d give the burger and fries a thumbs up.

My friend had the chicken breast, which came with duck fat fries. They enjoyed it a lot although I thought that for the price ($19), the portion size looked skimpy.

Two appetizers, 1 cheeseburger, 1 chicken breast and 2 glasses of wine totaled $106.

I have no issue paying $53 for dinner. I do have somewhat of an issue paying $53 for what I found to be a very mediocre meal.

While my burger was good, it wasn’t nearly as good as burgers I’ve had at either Station House or Dirty Pierre’s.

With that said, the biggest issue was really the appetizers which I simply found to be sub-par.

At the end of the day I’m happy I made it to The Flying Pig, as I really wanted to give it a try. I also leave this meal comfortable in knowing that it’s ok not to rush back any time soon.

There are lots of other solid options available in Forest Hills that I much prefer.

Jon Parker July 12, 2013 at 11:43 PM  

I'm glad people are commenting about their actual experiences. Keep it up!

Susan July 13, 2013 at 9:43 AM  

Just want to point out that our bill of $106 INCLUDED the tip. The food/drink bill was just a tad under $90.

Also worth mentioning that when I asked about the Oyster selection it was Blue Points or nothing.

As an Oyster lover, I was fairly disappointed by that as my hopes were that at least The Flying Pig may be a great option for Oysters and a beer. Nothing wrong with Blue Points, but not always what I'm looking for and a selection would be nice.

With that said, I can respect that in order to carry a selection you need to know that a product like that is going to move. Keeping my fingers crossed that we see expansion in this area! That would def bring me back in to The Flying Pig.

Anonymous,  August 1, 2013 at 9:33 AM  

Any new reviews coming up, jon? thanks.

Jon Parker August 1, 2013 at 11:48 AM  

There are a handful on the list. The next one will *probably* be Keuka (did I spell that properly?), which I heard is very good, or maybe Biu Bella since its previous incarnation, Positano, was so hilariously awful.

Anonymous,  August 1, 2013 at 12:06 PM  

Cool. I mentioned this before in another comment, but tu casa on metro was excellent the one time i went. Worth trying. Keuka is very good. Would never go into biu bella, but it could be good also.

Anonymous,  August 14, 2013 at 11:01 AM  

is this blog defunct or you just gave up?

Jon Parker August 14, 2013 at 1:06 PM  

Keep your panties on snookums, I just posted Keuka ten seconds ago.

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