Striped Pig - promising ! [ RWC ]

Just ate at Striped Pig in RWC. The place is in the old Taste of India space, next to Aly’s on Main, up from most excellent Martin’s West, down from Donato Enoteca. Mmmmm.

The menu is shockingly short. Even in the california style of short, daily menus, it’s especially short. 3 or 4 bites ( like, bread, nuts, cheese ), 5 apps, 4 entrees ( skirt steak, burger, a fish, something else ) - really short menu. I was watching the pick up station, and could see what was popular.

Wine list was credible. Palmeyer by the glass, an interesting cheap blend. Cocktails were suspicious ( I judge a new restaurant by how they have the bar arranged ) but ended up OK. Let me explain.

The best example in the mid-south peninsula of an interesting room and a bad bar is Scratch. It’s a great looking room. Ok, a little weird with the seating at the raw bar, but a good looking room. Then you look at the bar bottles. it’s all off-brand stuff. Not national brands, but unusual brands, but bad-tasting unusual brands. Classic corner cutting, and you can see it in the bar. This is a place that puts money into the long term ( good looking room ), but probably pays the staff poorly, expects turn over, has uneven service, and has peculiar drinks.

Striped Pig worried me from the outset. Not a small high end selection, not too many international brands, and the small brands were not perfectly chosen. Pair that with a menu which is decidedly short, and a music playlist of early 00 drum n bass.

Yet… the dishes were good. We ate off the middle of the menu, and had:

  • Ahi with uni foam. Fresh fish, good foam, simple dish but pleasant.
  • beet salad. Perfunctory, given that we’re in the middle of beet season. Underdressed, too much celery. Only OK.
  • Pigs in a blanket. These were pretty good, four cocktail weenies in small puff pastry.
  • chicken wings, KFC style.

Each one wasn’t knock-em-dead, but each one was pleasant. Balance, technique, ingredient. There wasn’t much to say about individual dishes, except… yep, that was tasty.

I was reminded how Aly’s, next door, is unappreciated, but the room is so spare. We ate there only once, the food was decent, but …

My eat-crush in RWC is still Kemuri, but Striped Pig is worth a visit if you’re on that side of town.

If you are looking for something else to be suspicious of, think about how disingenuous the choice of a name for the resto was.

Interesting review - looking at the menu online seems like pretty limited on vegetable/vegetarian options, huh? Nevertheless I’ll try to check it out.

But what is it about Aly’s? We’ve eaten there once as well and I have little desire to go back. I felt the food was more than decent - I think whoever was in the kitchen was taking real care and it was quite good. Service was fine. But that space is so…I don’t even know what to say about it. Terrible lighting? A lack of intimacy or warmth? An emptiness (well, it’s often very close to empty)? I think it’s really a shame that the space undermines the food the way it does - at least for me.

I think it’s kind of clear what’s wrong with Aly’s design. Just look at what they did at Striped Pig, about the same size and shape, but a smaller, cozier, fuller space.