>> Thursday, June 27, 2013
THE PIG HAS FLOWN AND IS NOW AUSTIN PUBLIC. NEW NAME. NEW MENU.THE FLYING PIG
70-28A Austin Street
Forest Hills, NY 11375
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.