I’m the special kind of asshole who likes to try every new restaurant within a mile of my apartment. There is a seemingly bottomless demand for new food suppliers in Williamsburg, the vast majority of which fall into a culinary and decorative aesthetic that I would call meaty.
Meaty restaurants celebrate serious or unusual cuts of locally-sourced animal, particularly the pig and its appealingly fattier quarters. Appetizers and ancillary dishes hint at a green stalk of something here, a legume there, but even these are brought closer to the theme with a hearty cheese or ample butter. The decor compliments: huge Edison bulbs over thick reclaimed wood tables, wainscoting, hulking framed mirrors . Heavy as it is, it’s an aesthetic I quite like, both in food and in place. It reminds me of my dad’s weekly steak dinners, of lodges in the remoter parts of Oregon, and of the bildungsroman of my tastebuds which brought me to the appreciation of finer foods. And those pork bellies and marrow butters and prune-stuffed porkchops? Unbeatable.
Coming back from a week’s trip in LA, I don’t find myself filled with a burning desire to check into my nearest gastropub. I’m in fact slightly disappointed that finding fresh fish and undressed vegetables on the menu of half of my favorite places will be a trip to the far corners of the menu. I’m already missing the sliced veggies and cottage cheese they slip discretely next to the white bread and butter pile out west. I’ve already forgotten about the wonders of natural light on the table. As on the return from past trips to California, I’m a bit ashamed to admit it, but all the dark, decadent meatiness here in the city gets exhausting.
This too shall pass, I’m sure. When it does, you’ll find me gnawing the last bits of succulent flesh off a pig bone in a dark corner of Diner.