As we stepped into the restaurant the host greeted us warmly, and as he guided us to our table he told us he applied for his position at City Pork the day after he ate there for the first time. He showed us to our seats, answered our questions and then gushed about some of his favorites on the menu.
Our server announced she loved her job and modestly said she was the top seller, and we could see why — she did an excellent job. When asked about a dessert wine, she grabbed one of the other servers who seemed quite the sommelier and he happily made an excellent suggestion. When employees are this happy you know something good is going on at a restaurant, and after you eat their food you’ll be happy too.
City Pork Brasserie and Bar on Jefferson has the delicious sandwiches found at their Perkins Overpass location, but the menu is expanded to include some wonderful, creative offerings.
The interior is funky chic with exposed beams lining the ceiling, lots of pig art, rustic wood, creative light fixtures and lots of natural light shining in on the tables, and a nice bar along one side of the restaurant. You can also dine outside on the covered patio that runs along the front and one side of the building.
At a restaurant specializing in smoked meats we had to start with the “Pick 5” charcuterie and cheese board ($20). We chose liver pate, andouille, pork cheek pastrami, and for the cheeses, St.-André brie and parmesan. The board was as artfully presented as it was delicious. Arranged amongst the meat and cheese were lots of pickled items: quail eggs, green beans, sweet and spicy peppers, watermelon rinds, onions and pineapples along with toasted bread slices and spicy brown mustard with seeds. The cheek pastrami was our favorite meat, served in large chunks. It was good with the mustard, as was the paper-thin sliced soft and smoky andouille. The pate was rich and fatty and delicious spread on the bread, and the vegetables and fruits cleansed our palates and balanced the fattiness and smoke of the meats. We especially liked the peppers. The brie was creamy and good and even better as it soaked up some of the spices from the pickled items. City Pork has a happy hour with half-price drinks from 4 p.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 2 p.m.-6 p.m. on Fridays, and even bottles of wine are half off. One of these charcuterie and/or cheese boards, there are four to choose from, would be a great accompaniment to drinks after work.
For one of our entrees we tried the special: skirt steak and frites ($25). The steak was marinated in what tasted like soy and Worcestershire, and, served medium as the chef recommended, it was tender and full of flavor. The thinly cut fries were good, but the sauteed vegetables — tomatoes, squash, zucchini and onions well flavored with herbs de Provence — were delicious. Our server had suggested it and we were glad she steered us toward this choice.
We also tried the rabbit and dumplings ($21) and will definitely order this Asian-inspired dish again. The rich brown gravy tasting of soy sauce and ginger with mushrooms and thinly shredded pieces of rabbit covered several gyozas (Japanese style potstickers) full of pork. The entire dish was topped with crunchy, thinly sliced slaw that added texture and freshness. Served in a hot iron casserole on a board, this dish kept its warmth and was truly delicious.
Always a winner, we also got the Big Pig ($9), a pulled pork sandwich that never fails to satisfy. Mounds of tasty, smoky pork are topped with house-made sauce and cole slaw, served on a brioche bun with house-made chips and a pickle on the side.
For dessert we had a slice of angel food cake with a light and creamy apricot sauce topped with sliced almonds ($6). This dessert satisfies the desire for something sweet without weighing you down. We also tried another dessert slightly on the light side, a vol-au-vent. Usually a circular pastry, this one was square with a berry smear inside along with a scoop of vanilla ice cream ($6). The pastry was a little tough and we would have liked more berries. The bread pudding ($6) was non-traditional, less dense than other bread puddings we’ve eaten in South Louisiana and more like a loaf of braided bread with cinnamon and bacon on top. This came with a scoop of vanilla bacon ice cream and the mix of salty and sweet was a great combination.
We thoroughly enjoyed our evening at City Pork with its enthusiastic and friendly staff. This restaurant is a great choice for a special evening or a weekday dinner out.