Foodie. It’s a term that has gained popularity in recent years used to describe those who make food not just a means of sustenance, but a subject of passion and study. With the recent opening of Green Pig Bistro in Clarendon, those local devotees of all things food have a new spot to add to their ever-expanding lists of must-try restaurants.
The restaurant itself can be well described as a foodie fantasy land. Upon entering Green Pig Bistro, customers are ushered through a corridor with walls lined with pages from various cookbooks, featuring a full display case of the tomes. Placed about the dining room are artfully arranged cooking tools, like aged brass instruments and a veritable rainbow of Le Creuset cookware neatly lined up on shelves. Barrel chandeliers above a long communal table, and broad-backed wooden chairs at tables give a rustic, country-kitchen impression.
The kitchen, situated in the back corner of the dining room, becomes part of the space through an open design, with only a white-tiled butcher block separating the two areas. The butcher block, not to mention various pig figurines scattered about the place, remind diners of one of the restaurant’s greatest culinary draws: Meat – and not just steaks, but “nose-to-tail” cuts that satisfy foodie curiosities.
Sweetbreads, liver pates and pork rinds find their place in various dishes. Among the dishes available for culinary adventure-seekers is the corned ox heart reuben ($7). The dish, listed under the snacks section of the menu, plates three tiny speared- and pickle-topped sandwiches, filled with strips of the surprisingly tender meat, accented with a modest helping of sauerkraut and dressing. (While meat is the focus, seafood is not neglected, as rockfish and skate are available as entrees, and clams and octopus – though flavored with a helping of pork – are served as appetizers.)
As uncommon cuts of meat are used, so too are gourmet touches folded inventively into various dishes. The house poutine ($9), available as an ample side dish, loads its gravy with the fatty flavors of duck liver, serving crispy French fries topped in stringy cheese and the savory gravy.
Come dessert time, diners can order the doughnuts and ice cream ($7), which seems a reimagined ice cream sandwich made with scoops of peanut butter ice cream nestled between sliced halves of a dense, cake-like doughnut, all drizzled table-side with chocolate sauce.
Ticking items off of a “Foods I’d Like to Try” list is fun. Seeing familiar dishes rendered in new ways is enjoyable. The greatest pleasure, though, is found in crave-worthy tastes, and Green Pig Bistro has that. Proof enough can be found in entrees like the duck breast ($23) – with moist slices of duck and a succulent layer of fat, all on a bed of farrotto in a light sauce – and the steak-frites platter ($26) – with an admirable filet topped with a generous helping of marrow butter that delivers wonderful flavor.
Whether the diner be a foodie or a less enthusiastic restaurant-goer, the menu of blended American comfort food and French bistro fare – accented but not overwhelmed by clever touches – will satisfy.
Green Pig Bistro is located at 1025 N. Filmore St., Arlington. For more information, call 703-888-1920 or visit facebook.com/GreenPigBistro. Restaurant hours are Monday, Wednesday – Sunday: 5:30 – 11 p.m.