They’ve got CHOPS! – Porkchop and Co.

Where should I start with Porkchop and Co???  Nutkin and crew decided to go here for dinner on a whim, not really knowing what to expect as I had heard of it in passing, but hadn’t paid much attention to it. But I’m paying attention now.  With a name like Porkchop, they were going to have to have some good pork dishes and they did not disappoint.

We made a reservation for 8pm on Saturday night, but as it turns out, that wasn’t necessary as it was mostly empty. Their menu consisted mostly of small plates, sandwiches, a 3 course pris fix dinner, and pickled veggies. And a whole chicken that Nutkin and she-Nutkin debated ordering before we decided that we were going to order family style to try more things on the menu.  That was the smartest move we made.

pickles & kimchi - pickles, carrots, cauliflower, kimchi; sadly the pickles were a little limp and the kimchi doesn't have the punch of a Korean restaurants kimchi (it's less vinegary and spicy) but is probably a good choice for people who are unfamiliar with kimchi; the cauliflowers were the standout in this starter

pickles & kimchi – pickles, carrots, cauliflower, kimchi; sadly the pickles were a little limp and the kimchi doesn’t have the punch of a Korean restaurants kimchi (it’s less vinegary and spicy) but is probably a good choice for people who are unfamiliar with kimchi; the cauliflowers were the standout in this starter

porkchop & co - chickpea fritters

chickpea fritters – crispy on the outside with plenty of flavor on the inside (from just chickpeas!) sitting on a bed of gem lettuce with their magical tartar sauce. Someone heard egg yolk sauce, which might explain the yellow color of the sauce, but I’m inclined to think it’s curry. Either way, the dressing is sublime!

smoked trout salad - with apples and pickled red onions; I've had tuna salad with apples and preserved lemons and all sorts of other smoked fish salads, but this one was perfectly smoky with just the right blend of crunch and acid to balance out everything. I wish there was more of it though, as it didn't quite cover the 4 grilled breads.

smoked trout salad – with apples and pickled red onions; I’ve had tuna salad with apples and preserved lemons and all sorts of other smoked fish salads, but this one was perfectly smoky with just the right blend of crunch and acid to balance out everything. I wish there was more of it though, as it didn’t quite cover the 4 grilled breads.

porkchop & co - chicken wings and cracklins

chicken wings and cracklins – these were good to share, crispy skin and cracklings, more of a sweet honey and roasted pepper flavor

porckshop & co - bone-in porkchop sandwich

bone-in porkchop sandwich – the namesake of the restaurant and had to be ordered; with pickled vegetables and salsa verde; they graciously cut the sandwich into quarters for us to make it easier to split; the texture of the tender and juicy pork enrobed in its crunchy fried crust was so delicious! I’m not a huge pork person, but I was a fan of this sandwich! the pickles added a little extra crunch and the bread provided generous coverage for the sandwich.

porkchop & co - apple melt

apple melt – gruyere, cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, and pickled apples; a great grilled cheese sandwich by any standard with lots of cheese oozing goodness, great for vegetarians and would normally be the type of sandwich I would love, but it pales in comparison to the other sandwiches we had. We added the country ham to this – it’s more like prosciutto, which is a million times better than the Christmas ham I was envisioning.

porkchop & co - smoked beets

smoked beets – and blue cheese; the table took a few bites before they warmed up to this interesting dish, but they liked it; a little sweetness with the saltiness of the blue cheese (go light on the blue cheese or it will overwhelm the beets), needed more bread to go with this bowl; it was definitely a surprise favorite as far as intriguing dishes go

Porchetta dip sandwich (not pictured) – this sandwich was undoubtedly one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever eaten, maybe because they’re the only ones who dared to stuff a porchetta in a sandwich and serve it with au jus gravy from the drippings with more herbs mixed in; I won’t lie – the sandwich was messy, the bread falling apart after being dipped, but the porchetta was amazing in flavor – the herbs blending with the fattiness of the pork.  And the sandwich was mostly just porchetta, I don’t recall much else in it.  Porchetta is a pork tenderloin wrapped in pork belly – it’s usually made in house and is probably the second best way to eat pork (next to bacon, but porchetta is arguably more complicated and nuanced). There was no acidity to cut richness of the pork, but I don’t know of any porchetta dish that does and that allowed them to put a lot of porchetta in the sandwich.  Probably at least 3 inches high, the kitchen couldn’t even split the sandwich due to the mound of delicate porchetta. It was devoured and raved about. My fingers, wrists, and face ran with au jus and pork juice – and there was no going back for pictures.  Like a dream and a craving that haunts for days – I will remember that porchetta sandwich.

Porkchop & Co is a casual restaurant, where you can order from the counter and take your sandwiches to go. Paul Osher, the owner, was at the cash register and serving that night – we had no idea he was the owner and I hope that he heard us talking about how amazing the pork chops and porchetta sandwich were on the way out. There were about 4 tables filled in the 2 hours we were there and they were gracious to let us continue ordering even after 9pm for our second round.  For a restaurant on a Saturday night in Ballard, it was mostly empty compared to Billy Beach and El Borracho just a few doors down, and so I worry that if there aren’t enough people to support Porkchop, it might not be around for long.  Maybe it’s needless worry, but the quality of the food and the unassuming air of almost a sandwich shop cannot be understated.  Dot’s Delicassen, which was similar in concept, didn’t make it and I would be heartbroken if this restaurant met a similar fate.  Because I feel passionately about the food that they made and I want them to succeed.  Join me in supporting Porkchop & Co. – try the porchetta sandwich at least once, share the experience, and go back to relive it again.

SUMMARY
Overall: happily ever after
Highlights: porchetta sandwich, porkchop sandwich
Footnotes: They close early at 9pm; they serve bottled cocktails which my friends enjoyed and praised – a novel concept since they don’t have a bar; takeout is available

 Porkchop & Co.
Porkchop & Co. on Urbanspoon


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