From the owners of Artichoke Basille and Led Zeppole, This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef opened during the last week of January, bearing a minimal-item menu of the beef variety. This roast beef sandwich shop, not for the faint of heart, has entered the scene with no-nonsense gut bombs involving slow cooked beef, cheez whiz, and pastrami. Reviews have been abundant for this place, some good, some not-so-good, but it seems like the standard Artichoke grievances about slow service seem to translate.
The Flavorful News: An eater commenter weighed in on their experience at the soft opening: "Had the roast beef au jus with Cheez Wiz and onions last night. According to Sal Basille, it was just a soft opening until they have the necessary manpower to operate the restaurant. Otherwise, the sandwich was lovely: au jus was flavorful, the roast beef was tender and seasoned well. Will definitely go back for more!" [Eater Comments]
The Good, If Slightly Quirky News: Sietsema's review of This Little Piggy revealed that the food is deeply comforting, and not for those who can't handle viscous sauce or unfussy fare. However, purists and Katz's loyals might be appalled at the pastrami sandwich, which comes garnished with coleslaw. "This Little Piggy's sandwich is superb--juicy and creamy and made with good bread. Though the staff is pleased to refer to the lubrication as 'au jus,' it's really just brown gravy, as it should be, with the heft and texture of 30 weight motor oil. The pastrami sandwich is equally superb: unfussy, cut thick, spice rimmed, and the deepest color of red imaginable. The meat is deposited on soft seedless rye and dressed with cole slaw. Which is quirky, but fine." [FitR]
The Delicious but Dangerous News: The Awl both raves about and fears the sandwich, but could it be colored by Bloomberg's sodium issues?:
"Choire: No! Though I did have that the other night? I mean, I feel bad, not in the way, like, OMG BAD MEAT? But like, 'Oh I have a cup of salt inside me that I cannot dilute even with this 33.8 ounce container of seltzer!'
Choire: The sneaky thing is: we didn't realize this WHILE we were eating!
Choire: Which is what makes the sandwich magical.
BALK: I know, it just tasted great!
BALK: And then? jdkvngekjrgvbsvbjjvk.
BALK: So I guess we should tell the roast beef fans of New York that they will enjoy this sandwich, but they should call their cardiologist in advance?" [The Awl]
The Unnecessarily Angry News: An eater commenter, probably hailing from Boston, had strong feelings about the possible blasphemy that is "This Way.": "Mozzarella on roast beef is an insult to roast beef. You would get your ass kicked for ordering that in any beef spot in Mass." [Eater Comments]
The Good Yelp: A Yelper praised the simplicity of the menu after trying all three items, four including the mash-up, supposedly called the "F&*^ It": "No joke, one of the best damn sandwich spots I've ever been to. Ranks right up there with Freddie's Ocean Beach Deli in San Fran, Sunny & Annie's Deli (get the Pho Real) here in our own NYC, and a ridiculously good banh mi place in Seattle whose name escapes me. But this isn't about them. This is about This Way, That Way, or The Other One. I've had them all, and even had a mash-up of This Way and That Way (never been one for keeping track of directions) that has a particularly colorful name amongst the staff, and it's all been ridiculously enjoyable. A very simple menu, done right, and knowing the Artichoke boys, they'll keep tweaking it until they have it with nothing more they could possibly do to improve it." [Yelp]
The "Bring a Friend" News: A Foursquarer was pleased with both selections, and urges that you bring a friend to try them both: "This Way" or "That Way" you really can't go wrong with the roast beef. Better yet grab a friend and go both ways. [FSq]
The Bad News: Although many yelpers loved the sandwiches, the same grievances about long waits and disorganization at Artichoke, as of right now, seem to hold true for TLPHRB. "The boys at Artichoke have brought it (both figuratively and literally) to the East Village, with the same concept: short menu, long wait. Just like R n' R, This Little Piggy is "not so fast", but you'd hardly tell the difference in quality." Another reviewer agreed: "Both times I've been the sandwiches have been made to order and took 10+ min, a little longer than I'm willing to wait. The rhythm might change as the place gets more customers." [Yelp]