Porktacular!

Porchetta As my career at Nielsen comes to a close, I come to the realization that I will in fact be leaving the East Village lunch of luxury. I’m heading uptown with the suits where I can only hope expensed business lunches await my arrival. And though the 50’s have wonderful restaurants, I’m weary of their unaffordable and stuffy lunch options. So I’ve spent the last two weeks hopping here and there and thoroughly enjoying goodbye after goodbye lunch. Maybe I should change jobs more often?

Porchetta But all joking aside I’ve devoured some amazing meals, my favorite of the week being Porchetta. As a Jew raised to not eat pork, I’m pretty adverse to it being my meal’s main attraction. I’m totally cool with eating bacon, prosciutto, or even spare ribs. But ordering a pork chop at dinner is just going too far…until Porchetta!

Admittedly I had a few samplings of pulled pork at this year’s Choice Eats Awards, but I had never had a meal that was centered around pork. And since I’ll be starting a new chapter of my life in about a week, I decided that it was about time I Discovered Pork for myself.

Porchetta's Pork Roasts

Pork and more pork stared us in the face when we arrived at Porchetta. Porchetta makes 14 pork roasts every day that each take five hours to cook. Luckily they get their bread from the Sullivan Street Bakery, so they have one less thing to bake each day. Porchetta’s daily menu had only three main options:

  1. Porchetta, Sandwich
  2. Porchetta, Plate
  3. Mozzarella, Sandwich
Porchetta Sandwich

Porchetta Sandwich

I almost went for the Porchetta sandwich (along side Adam & Dave) when i saw the daily specials. With a mere 3 days left in the East Village,  I decided to try my luck on the Pork Ragu special. And was I glad I did!

Pork Ragu on Garlic Toast

Pork Ragu on Garlic Toast

This mouth watering ragu is one of the BEST I’ve ever tasted. The pork was succulent and moist; glistening on top of  a buttery toasted baguette. This harmonious pairing has a wonderful warming effect that warms the heart and soul. Porchetta’s Pork Ragu lifts the spirits. Oh how I love reminiscing about this sandwich! Adam and Dave were eyeing my pork ragu in hopes that I wouldn’t finish. Clearly they don’t know my appetite, as I nearly licked the bowl clean.

I only wish that I chose Porchetta as my last East Village meal. But even more reason for me to return…

Porchetta Store Window

Lunch at Hasaki

Last Friday my boss was kind enough to treat me for an “off campus” lunch at a restaurant of my choosing. Since we were both in the mood for some Asian cusine I figured I’d show her the best sushi the East Village has to offer at Hasaki.
Dining out during lunch is somewhat of a priviledge for me since not many people in the office head out for lunch. Sadly we eat at our desks or trek up to the 14th floor to properly dine in our only lunchroom. Needless to say I was excited by the opportunity to take a nice long lunch and get to know my new boss a little bit better.
Though I’d only been to Hasaki once before, I was quite impressed by what appeared to be a hole in the wall. Since Hasaki resides on the bottom floor of a building, you need to walk down a few steps in order to enter the restaurant, making it easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. But after being well attended to by the waitstaff and enjoying some creative maki rolls, I was certainly glad I had stumbled upon this neighborhood gem.
Though Hasaki doesn’t serve traditional $8-10 maki roll lunch specials, I knew my boss would appreciate the quality of the fish and the authentic Japanese decor. After mulling over a few sushi specials we decided to start with the Shrimp Tempura and Miso Soup.
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Shrimp Tempura

 Not having eaten shrimp tempura in a while, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But the shrimp were quite tender and embodied by a perfectly crisp exterior. It is common for tempura to be soggy, but not at Hasaki. The shrimp were accompanied by an assortment of tempura vegetables including broccoli, eggplant, carrot, and potato which were all equally delicious. We each also enjoyed a very tasty  Miso Soup. The Miso Soup had an incredibly rich color and flavor, where typically a Miso Soup lacks color and balance. And almost as soon as we completed our appetizers, we were on to our main sushi courses.

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Sushi Adajo – 5 pcs. & spicy tuna roll, yellowtail w/scallion
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Sushi Forte - 7 pcs. & spicy tuna w/ avocado roll

As expected, the sushi was incredibly fresh and beautifully plated. I usually stick to maki rolls, but I decided to mix it up that day with an assortment of sushi including salmon, tuna, yellow tail, and eel. The eel and the tuna were probably my favorites of the plate. I would certainly recommend trying a variety of fish because you really can’t go wrong. Be sure to ask your server what he recommends ordering that day.

Where one might gloss over this neighborhood gem, I’m glad I came across it and was able to introduce it to my boss. I think it’s safe to say she enjoyed it.