Today is my birthday.
Not any birthday, today I turn the big 3-0.
To celebrate, last Saturday evening I gathered together my group of friends, plus my husband to have a large format feast at the Belgian-inspired restaurant, Resto for a multi-course dinner cooked from a suckling pig.
All I can say is, this dinner was amazing and the most wonderful and memorable way to spend my thirtieth birthday. I had first heard about Resto through a review on serious eats about a year and a half ago, and knew we had to go there. Finally, a true Belgian restaurant in NYC that would bring us back to those wonderful honeymoon memories, and just perhaps they would have a selection of funky Belgian beers too (oh they do, they most certainly do have an impressive list). So I took my husband there for his birthday and we loved it. That’s when I learned about the large format feast and decided I was to return and have my 30th dinner here.
For the large format feast, Resto offers four animals that they can butcher; pig, lamb, goat or fish. It was pig all the way for me. Eight people is the minimum to host the party, because frankly it’s a whole animal, and it’s a lot of food!
We all arrived for the 6pm seating (they do two dinners a night) and after ordering our first round of drinks the parade of food began.
Our first course, or rather the amuse was pork pops made from the shoulder served with pimento cheese spread and fried pork nuggets -those I could eat all day long. Lucky for me, a basket was placed by my side.
We had a brief breather, while our beer sommelier, Chris came over to introduce himself and to help us decide on what bottle to choose next. One of the great features about Resto, is that they offer a selection of large form Belgian beers, so like a bottle of wine you can order one and share amongst the group. He found us a great bottle of 2008 Chouffe Christmas down in the beer cellar that was not on the beer list for the night.
The next courses arrived soon after, and then did the real feasting begin. We had pork belly so tender you could cut it without a knife, Mac and cheese with chorizo, spareribs and as we joked, a little roughage – some Tuscan kale. *a side note, please forgive the pork belly photo, the lighting was low and I was trying to be respectful by not using my flash. By the time I realized the photo was blurry, everyone had dug in.*
At this point, you’d think we would be done right? I, at the very least was starting to fill up and it didn’t help that I wore a skirt that *just fit*, but no the final course was still to be served.
This is when the oohing and ahhing really began, out comes multiple servers to bring us a heaping plate of pork chops with brussels sprouts and lardons, pig leg with the crispest skin I have ever seen and finally the pig head accompanied by the other leg. Also served, we’re collard greens and roasted turnips.
You of course can’t have a feast without dessert, and thank goodness dessert was minimal! At this point, we were stuffed and couldn’t eat much more.
Again, I just want to say what an amazing meal and experience this was. I had fantastic dining companions and the service at Resto was outstanding. While I doubt I’ll be back for the large format feast any time soon, dinner is an absolute must!