Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pork Fat Anonymous

Watermelon Pickle and Crispy Pork -- Fatty Crab
Fatty Crab

Let's make something clear: we eat unhealthy food.  We love unhealthy food.  We drool over grease and carbs and oil and salt and we do not scoff at the sight of cheese.

But we have our limits when it comes to cubes of pure fat.

After our first corn dog experience, we head to Fatty Crab to try a dish from the Best Thing I Ever Ate COMBOS episode, the watermelon pickle and crispy pork, as recommended by Roger Mooking.  As we take our seats outside on the Broadway sidewalk, we decide instantly that we cannot pass up the all-you-can-drink brunch special for $15, even if we only plan on eating one thing.  So we each order a mimosa with grapefruit juice.

"Our refrigerator broke," our waiter informs us.  "So I'm not sure if the champagne will be cold."

"Ehh, we'll just throw some ice cubes in there," Ginger, forever the sommelier, says.  But when he offers to substitute screwdrivers for the lukewarm mimosas, we take him up on his offer.
It's Slightly After Noon Somewhere
"I could add club soda so you still get some fizz," he suggests.

"Nah, I drink my vodka straight up," Vodka insists.  We place our order for the watermelon and pork, and our waiter attempts to take away our menus.  "Can I hold onto this a second?  I want to copy down the quote on the cocktail page about drinking."  The waiter leaves Vodka with the quote, and she enters it into her phone as if copying down one of the Psalms songs:

"That's the problem with drinking, I thought, as I poured myself a drink.  If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen."
-Charles Bukowski

"That's a quote from someone in AA," our waiter informs us upon handing over our mid-day cocktails. Well, that's one way to put a damper on the first cocktail of the day.

"Cheers," we say anyway.  (It never dawns on us to ask about the "broken refrigerator" in regards to the food we are about the consume - clearly, our priorities at the moment lie with our cocktails).

We are only midway through our first screwdriver when our watermelon pickle and crispy pork arrive, and we dig in.  Vodka goes for a piece of the pickled watermelon first, and Ginger, for the crispy "pork."  There are scallions and herbs sprinkled liberally on all of the pieces, and a thick coat of ginger lining the watermelon.  It is unclear how exactly this is a "combo" platter, as the pieces of both are too large to eat together, so their marriage seems like a moot point.
Cut in Pieces Suitable to an Alligator's Mouth?
Upon biting into our respective cubes, we both wince.

Well, we don't so much wince as grimace.

The dish is verging on disgusting.

The watermelon, rather than being sweet and juicy, has been stripped of its flavor and turned into a sour piece of pink mush.  Vodka, who hates all ginger except Ginger herself, is completely put off by the ginger coating (though Ginger, naturally, finds this feature much less offensive).

And the pork - where do we even begin on the pork?  First of all, THERE IS NO PORK.  The cubes of "pork" are pure fat.  We tear through them hopelessly in search of a slab of hidden meat only to come up with more and more slimy, slithery fat.  The cubes are chewy and manage to be spicy yet tasteless at the same time, and everything about them is awful.
Where's the Beef (err, pork), Indeed?
"I don't even get it," Ginger confesses.  For the first time on our tour, not only do we not understand the appeal of a dish's taste, but we don't even get the concept.  There is no misplaced whimsy, a la the chocolate pizza and cheesecake lollipops.  For all intents and purposes, it is supposed to be a "real" dish (and a $17 dish at that), but why oh why would it ever be considered enjoyable to chomp through a wad of pig fat?

Merely to get rid of the feeling of fat swishing around in our mouths, we order vegetable buns, which are ten times more enjoyable (we don't dare get the meat version for fear that it will once again be loaded with unlimited fat).  The all-you-can-drink screwdrivers are also fairly tasty, and pretty much the only barrier standing in the way of us hating the place.
These Tasted More Appetizing Than They Look
From now on, we prefer to keep fat where it belongs: hidden away in our food under the guise of "frosting" or "bacon"; not rolling around on our plates in its unadulterated form.

Fatty Crab's Watermelon Pickle and Crispy Pork: 1 star

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