There are a few restaurants in NYC that truly live up to the whole "gastropub" trend. The Spotted Pig was probably the first of those and I believe it remains the most successful of them. Jimmy's No. 43 and Jones Wood Foundry are two others that immediately come to mind - both of which are quite good. And there are plenty of casual restaurants that label themselves gastropubs, but don't seem to live up to the designation to me. According to NY Mag's website, there are 36 restaurants in the city that have designated themselves as "gastropubs." The Spotted Pig is one of those restaurants that actually deserves its hype - the food is amazing. Even for lunch the waits can run up to an hour or more. If you get there early enough (we walked in at 12:10 pm on a Saturday), you should be able to get in pretty easily. By 12:30 the waits were running 20-30 minutes for a table for two and longer for a larger table.
Usually when I go to The Spotted Pig I am there specifically for their Chargrilled Burger with Roquefort Cheese & Shoestring Fries. It is by far one of the most amazing burgers in NYC and those fries are to die for because they fry garlic and rosemary along with the fries so they have this amazing flavor. Anyway, after taking some summer associates out to lunch at BLT Burger last Friday I wasn't feeling like chowing down on another burger, so I decided to stick with the Market Salad with Sheep's Milk Cheese and a Prosciutto & Ricotta Tart with Marjoram. Alex got the Fried Poached Eggs with Chorizo Stew (pictured above) and then we shared one of their homemade donuts with strawberry jam and cream for dessert. Everything was amazing. The market salad was delicious - full of bitter greens, fresh asparagus, and a few little sprigs of spearmint. I know that mint in a salad sounds odd, but it was amazing. The tart had a crazy flaky and buttery puff pastry crust, topped off with some prosciutto, ricotta and arugula. The entire thing was garnished with more shaved cheese that reminded me of pecorino romano or gruyere. It was so good. And then there was Alex's fried poached egg dish. I have never had chorizo that was so intensely sweet and spicy at the same time. It was really good. I have had slightly better fried poached eggs at Nougatine, but it's a very minor complaint because they were pretty great. Last but not least, the donut. Yum. Who doesn't love a homemade sugar donut with strawberries and cream inside?