It seemed like fortuitous timing that right when The Advocate moved into its new building on Rieger Road, a new City Pork was opening close by.
This variation of the popular restaurant, its third location in Baton Rouge, is called City Pork Kitchen & Pie, and it offers breakfast and lunch service Monday through Friday.
I was very excited about the breakfast, but the menu left me a bit hesitant. In my experiences, City Pork’s offerings have been inventive and fresh, but the breakfast options here were fairly standard — sandwiches, omelets and a couple of signature breakfasts. We opted for the CP breakfast ($7), which came with two eggs, hash brown casserole, a biscuit and sausage. We also ordered the bacon and cheese omelet ($6) with tomatoes and onions ($0.50 each).
My favorite part of both plates was — no surprise for City Pork — the meat. The bacon was thick cut and the flavor and chew shone through the enormous omelet. The sausage came in patty form and was well spiced and not greasy. The eggs — over-easy and omelet — in both dishes were cooked well but in need of a touch of salt. There was a nice ratio of cheese to veggies to lots of bacon in the omelet that I appreciated.
The hash brown casserole had a nice textural contrast between the yummy crisp crust and softer potatoes inside, but it was a little overwhelmed by what seemed like an onion-y taste.
The biscuits, cut out of a tray, were fine. But the white gravy served with the biscuits was a disappointment. The sausage in the gravy had a very odd, sweet flavor that completely overpowered the rest of the gravy. I couldn’t really even taste the bits of tomato floating around in it. I was surprised, because I enjoyed my sausage patty so much, but the two were completely different.
Overall, the breakfast experience was fine, if a little boring. But I imagine that it will be a good option for those who work nearby and want a simple, hearty breakfast to start their day.
Lunch was a different story.
The menu was much more varied, so I went in with still-high hopes despite the breakfast letdown. We decided on the chicken fried pork chop ($13) and one of Tuesday’s specials, the brisket plate ($12), both of which came with two sides. We tried the greens, the green beans, the mac and cheese, and the Cajun rice.
Musical genius Chingy once said in the beloved ballad “Right Thurr,” “Gimme what you got for a pork chop,” and he may have been talking about this one.
I would have paid a lot more for it. It was boneless, pounded thin, breaded and fried. It was so delicious and juicy that I could have eaten five.
The dish also came with a side of white gravy that I approached hesitantly. But I was relieved to find that the gravy, though looking like the one I was served at breakfast, had a much more pleasant taste that complemented the chop perfectly.
The brisket wasn’t the most tender I’ve ever had, but being thinly sliced helped alleviate any toughness, and the slightly sweet barbecue sauce was quite tasty. However, it didn’t have the smoky depth of flavor of the brisket I’ve had at other City Pork locations.
I’m not a huge greens fan, finding them quite often to be bitter, but these exceeded my expectations. They were savory, flavorful, and I would gladly eat them as a side to any meal. They and the green beans tasted like they had been stewing for hours and were studded with bacon, giving them a lovely meaty taste.
The mac and cheese had a nice crunch on top with a creamy contrast underneath and was cheesy without being greasy, but it was lukewarm when we got it. And the Cajun rice had a great ratio of ground meat to rice (lots of meat) and a great texture.
The service was fast and friendly at both meals, and the location is bright and cheery.
I’ll be back for lunch soon — that pork chop is calling my name.