Stefanie Brechbuehler and Robert Highsmith, are the partners behind Workstead. The two met at Rhode Island School of Design while studying architecture and opened their studio in 2009,…Read More
Photo: Samuel Bristow
Published July 12, 2008
From time to time, The Scout will feature interborough food tours designed as culinary and geographic explorations of our fair city. Each has been field tested, in a single day, by Scouts. We begin with a tribute to a substance that may be the most delicious among carnivores’ dreams. In fact, if you speak to enough vegetarians, inquiring what they miss most from the days when they permitted themselves the sins of the flesh, you will find that one response outnumbers all others: bacon. This multidimensional pork cut delights the palette as it variously manifests smoke, rich fat, meaty texture, and slightly burnt crisp. New York’s purveyors put it to many joyous uses.
This delightful spot started as a breakfast-only venue, but has expanded to feed Williamsburg’s denizens three squares. Its morning magic is captured by its fanciful recipe for candied bacon. While the specifics of the transformation are hidden from view and known only to the alchemists of Egg’s kitchen, the resulting plate’s bacon strips each have a sweet lacquer that lifts the most important meal of the day to a new level.
While bacon might be considered an extra indulgence on the average burger, for this tour, we like to imagine you ordering bacon on brioche and requesting that the slightly surly barman add an 8 ounce beef patty, bibb lettuce, tomato, shaved red onion, and house made pickles. No cheese? That’s right, you’re holding out for the $14, worth-every-penny, mac and cheese – radiatore pasta, cheddar, gruyere, and, wait for it… bacon. Bring a dairy-loving friend because it’s a big tureen of goodness.
Sometimes, less is more. Frankies starts with Sullivan Street Bakery flatbread and adds only the three ingredients that correspond to sandwich culture’s most famous acronym: bacon, lettuce, and tomato. The chef clearly scours the region for the very best exemplars of B, L, and T: the lettuce is lush, the tomato slices sing with fresh flavor, and the bacon has been cooked to the Platonicly ideal balance of flex and crunch. However, it is only as the tastes combine in the mouth the full wonder emerges. With a hint of mayo, Frankies’s BLT is a stunning accomplishment.
The long communal tables of Brooklyn’s best barbecue joint are usually awash in piles of smoked meat of all kinds, so it might take some cunning to locate the richest treat of all among the varieties of ribs, brisket, and other animal parts. If you look hard enough, you’ll find what you seek – a cut that resembles nothing so much as chalkboard eraser. Under the blackened exterior is the incredibly intense experience known as pork belly bacon barbecue. It’s best washed down with one of the dozens of specialty bourbons poured at the bar.
If the word’s right there in the venue’s name, you walk in expecting porkalicious celebration. You won’t be disappointed. Bacon becomes the ultimate finger food, “Devils on Horseback,” when wrapped around tea-soaked prunes speared with pear. Savory-sweet carries the day! You are on your own to figure out which New York eateries serve bacon wrapped oysters – “Angels on Horseback.”
A bin of NYC condoms next to the pool table and fetish porn on the TVs sets the stage for a low-brow, decadent drink that makes Cristal seem quaint. If you look at the right end of the bar, you can see strips of bacon bathing in and infusing a bottle of vodka. The bacon martini is a cocktail that flirts between genius and disgust – a Roman orgy in a glass. The garnish is that convenience store favorite, the Slim Jim™, which adds an overpowering aroma to the proceedings. The drink redefines the concept of an acquired taste. By the time you’ve made it here and downed one or five of these babies, we trust you’re baconed up, tipsy, and ready to ride the bar’s free mechanical horse. Giddyup!