Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fette Sau, pt 2: The Food

So by now, you already know that Fette Sau looks cool, but the burning questions remains unanswered. How is the meat? In order to have a well informed opinion, I found it necessary to make two trips in a 36 hour time period, and while I think it still have little chunks of pork belly floating in my veins, I'm already salivating at the thought of a third trip before I leave town.

On my first trip I went with friends, which had the advantage of getting to try lots of different things, but had the disadvantage of having to share it with them. We got pulled pork, pork ribs, veal breast and a couple of links. A couple of rolls, sides of beans, pickles and kraut, and a gallon of beer and we were ready to dine!

First, the sides: The pickles were great, nice and crispy with a very clean mild taste. The freshness of the cucumbers really came through, the kraut was also nice and crispy, it tasted like it had not been cooked or pasteurized (hooray!) but was also a very light flavor. The rolls were fluffy and moist. There was no butter for them, but it didn't matter once you jammed some meat in there. Finally, the beans were my least favorite. They were good, but they were somewhere in between chili and baked beans. I like my baked beans a little sweeter.

The beer was Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold. It was cold, tasty and came in a glass jug. I'm not much for writing about beer, but if you want to read a good beer blog go here.

Now, on to the main course. Let's start with the ribs. Mmm... ribs. While I generally prefer baby back ribs, these St. Louis Style Spare ribs were incredible. They were moist flavorful and tender, the kind of ribs you lay in bed dreaming about. They were great without any sauce, which is the true test of good BBQ. The ribs and the pulled shoulder were both from Duroc breed hogs. The pulled pork was nice and moist with a good flavor. I piled it on a bun with a small squirt of sauce and spicy mustard and had myself a real nice sandwich. Next up was the spicy sausage, also pork but this time from Berkshire pigs. The sausage was excellent, though not very spicy. I could have sworn I tasted some fennel, which I found interesting. I don't usually think of fennel in smoked sausage, but it tasted great. Finally, for this meal anyway, was the veal breast. I've never had veal BBQ before, and I'm not sure that I would pick it again. It was kind of what I expected, very tender and fatty but without a whole lot of flavor. You know, like veal. Of all the meats, this was the only one that really needed sauce.

A couple of days later, I decided that I really needed to eat at Fette Sau again. After all, I hadn't had the pork belly OR the brisket. I mean, it was practically like I hadn't eaten there at all, you know? So, I returned to dine alone at Fette Sau. This time, I made sure to get the aforementioned items, plus sausage and potato salad. The potato salad was tangy and mustardy, the dressing was not over the top creamy, but not a vinaigrette either. The brisket was a little dry in parts, but this may just be because I am judging it against the greatest brisket in the world. The pork belly more than made up for it though. As you can probably imagine, the belly was incredibly moist and fatty, and I mean that in the best possible way. Occasionally I would take a bight with a little more meat than the others, and it was like finding a buried treasure of flavor. When it comes to the belly, a little bit goes a long way, but it is absolutely wonderful.

As you can see from the above photo, I wasted no time getting down to business on trip number two. That is, by the way, the pork belly on the left, the sausage in the middle and the brisket on the right. One thing that was odd was that this time the Spicy Sausage did not have fennel in it. Maybe they made a different batch, but I thought without the fennel it seemed to be missing a little something.

Though I haven't mentioned it yet, one of the great things about Fette Sau is that they make a point of buying quality meat from small and local farms. They list the farms on their website, which I think is great. (I would link to the page but its a fancy flash site, so I can't, but its under the "About Us" section.) We should all celebrate the farmers who are working hard to provide us with high quality and sustainably raised food. Cheers to Fette Sau and their farmers.

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