Last night I attended "FergusStock" at The Spotted Pig. Fergus Henderson is one of London's most acclaimed chefs (St. John restaurant), and when I heard he would be a guest chef at The Spotted Pig last night, I knew I needed to take advantage of this culinary opportunity. Mr. Henderson is known for his use of offal (the internal organs of a butchered animal) and what has been called "nose to tail" eating, which not everyone is a fan of, but as someone who likes to experiment, I was game!
There was a two and a half hour wait for a table for one, but luckily after grabbing a beer at the upstairs bar (and running into chef/Food Network star Anne Burrell), I found a lone seat at the downstairs bar. Even more luckily for me, that seat was next to another lone diner who ordered the Pot-Roast Half Pig's Head (for 2). The Pig's Head looked amazing and obviously too large for one, and this chap (Alex from London) who ordered it for himself was super kind and offered to share the dish with me!
The Pig's Head was actually amazing! The meat was juicy and tender and melted in my mouth. The flavors were salty and sweet, but so perfectly balanced and executed, that it was truly divine. After my first bite, I honestly got a tear in my eye - it was that good. A culinary dream come true! The skin was crisp to perfection, and Alex let me have the best part: the crispy pig's ear - phenomenal!
My new dining partner, who hailed from London and is a regular at Mr. Henderson's restaurant St. John, recommended I order the Ox Tongue And Bread with Green Sauce as well as the Deviled Kidney on Toast. And I ordered just that.
The Ox Tongue dish was simple and refreshing. It was basically a salad of greens with ox tongue and bread (which looked and tasted like soft croutons.) I didn't really see any green sauce, but whatever sauce was on the dish was tangy and nice.
The Deviled Kidney on Toast was mindblowing! Now, I'm not a huge kidney eater (who is?), but this dish which consisted of around 5 lamb kidneys on toast, was phenomenal. I'm not exactly sure how they were cooked or what was in the sauce, but it was truly delicious. It must have been some sort of red wine or marsala sauce in combination with some cayenne pepper to give the kidneys the perfect kick and sweetness they deserved. Again, I think I had another tear in my eye after my first bite.
As I expected, the place was filled with other note-worthy chefs wanting to feast on this unique and great food. Momofuku empire king David Chang walked in (Mr. Henderson will be cooking at Momofuku Noodle Bar tonight), as well as Barbuto's Jonathan Waxman, to name a few.
Unfortunately, Fergus Henderson only stops by The Spotted Pig to cook once a year. So, for "nose to tail" eating at its finest, purchase a ticket to London, or mark your calendar now for his next visit.
The Spotted Pig
314 W. 11th St. (at Greenwich St.)
New York, NY 10014