Pizzaiolo has upped the pork ante. About a month ago, they started buying whole pigs from the Heritage Foundation. Since then, pork has taken over, becoming the highlight of every meal, says Morton the Mousse. For example: a Berkshire pork chop with ratatouille and fried polenta. The pork is perfect–so tender, so juicy, and so gorgeously piggy. Morton’s opinion is seconded by Hungry Hippo, whose braised pork shoulder was, “no hyperbole, the single best pork dish I’ve ever eaten.” Especially good was the tasty fat marbling.
Chef Charlie will use Heritage breeds in all of his pork dishes, which means his meatballs are going to get even better. He’s planning to add lardo and other Italian charcuterie to the menu soon.
The best ham that Morton the Mousse has had in these parts is the house-cured ham at Cafe Rouge. It’s stuffed with garlic and aromatics, and finished on the rotisserie. Cafe Rouge has a variety of house-made deli meats, including corned beef and pastrami. They may be the best option in the area for cold cuts. The catch is: they carry only one meat at a time. Unless they’ve run out, in which case they carry none.
And a bonus ham: Gregoire occasionally offers baked ham and cheese croissants on their lunch menu. It’s just the sort of French comfort food that Gregoire excels at. The croissant is flaky and buttery, the bechamel creamy and satisfying, the ham thinly sliced and lightly salted, and the whole thing comes together perfectly.
Jeff highly, highly recommends pork chops at Bacar–they’re mesquite-grilled smoked kurobuto chops, and smoking gives them a great bacon-like taste.
5008 Telegraph Ave., Oakland
Cafe Rouge Meat Market [East Bay]
1782 4th St., at Hearst, Berkeley
Gregoire [East Bay]
2109 Cedar St., Berkeley
Bacar Restaurant & Wine Salon [SOMA]
448 Brannan St., San Francisco
Mighty Fine Pork: Pizzaiolo, Fatted Calf, Cafe Rouge, Gregoire