The newest restaurant from the team behind seasonal Brooklyn barbecue restaurant, Pig Beach, is technically not a barbecue spot, though smoked brisket, beef rib, and corn bread are on the menu in composed dishes. Chef Matt Abdoo who’s opening Pig Bleecker on Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 155 Bleecker St. is calling it “refined, smoke-centric comfort food,” with dishes like brisket ravioli, beef rib with a Tomahawk steak, and cheddar cornbread in madeline form.
He wants to use smokiness, “as a flavor enhancer, the way somebody would use salt or sugar to levitate a dish,” he says.
It’s a return to Abdoo’s days in a full-service restaurant setting. He worked at Del Posto, Mario Batali’s esteemed pasta house, for eight years before teaming up with Rob Shawger, Ed McFarland, Shane McBride, and Michael Greenlee for Pig Beach in Gowanus. When he signed on, he knew he wanted to grow Pig Beach, possibly with more locations.
A refined take on barbecue at Pig Bleecker wasn’t initially in the plans. The team saw that the prime corner space, formerly home to Bark Hot Dogs, was for rent, but it also knew that rent in Greenwich Village would require higher check averages than traditional barbecue garners. He came up with a sit-down restaurant based on smoked meats and more. Abdoo was itching to use some of his old training, anyway. “Marrying the two together just sort of came naturally,” he says of combining barbecue and fine dining.
- A Tomahawk steak with beef rib, Utica greens, and crispy fingerling potatoes Nick Solares
- Cavatelli pasta with nduja, chili, and clams Nick Solares
- Cod cheeks with crispy ham and vinegar peppers Nick Solares
- Steak and deviled eggs Nick Solares
- Cheeseburger and fries Nick Solares
- Vegetable platter with dips Nick Solares
In practice, that means dishes like hot fried chicken that’s first deboned and smoked, seared fish accompanied by smoked Marcona almond butter, and meatballs with a smoked mozzarella. Lasagna is layered with a smoked duck confit, and side dishes like crispy fingerling potatoes, Utica greens, and grits take inspiration from classic barbecue sides.
It’s still a fairly casual restaurant, although not as laid-back as the original Pig Beach. Ultimately, Abdoo intends for the place to hit some of the same comfort notes that Pig Beach does. “My hope here is after you sit and eat the food in this restaurant, you’re still getting that warm hug of barbecue, but you’re also getting that warm hug of grandma’s cooking at home as well,” Abdoo says. “A big old hug.”
Check out pictures of the space below.