Hog & Hominy
707 West Brookhaven Circle
Even though yesterday was Hog & Hominy's official first day open, I felt like I was the last blogger in town to visit. They've had a soft opening for a couple of weeks, and it seems that everyone flocked over as fast as possible. Trust me, I have been wanting to go ever since the soft opening, but couldn't manage to get it together until last night.
Yesterday would have been my parents' 49th wedding anniversary. I wanted to take my mom out for a fun dinner with the monkeys (Satchel, 10, and Jiro, 8) and a movie (without the monkeys) so Hog & Hominy seemed like the perfect spot. My sister, Tracey, and her twelve year old daughter, Sutton, also joined us. My dad loved going out to eat and growing up we had many a good times in restaurants.
Here's me and my cute mom.
Despite the smile on her face, she was not excited about dinner. I emailed her the menu earlier in the day and she thought it sounded too weird. She actually tried getting out of dinner all together, but I am not one to take no for an answer.
Satchel and Jiro were also hesitant. I told them we were going for pizza, but that it would be a little different from what they were used to. I had the following conversation with Satchel:
"Is it Italian?" he asked.
"Yes," I said.
"I like American pizza," he said.
"All pizza is Italian," I replied.
"Is this pizza going to be sophisticated?" he asked.
"Yes," I said.
"Well, I like normal pizza," he said.
"It's going to be an adventure," I said.
"Fine, but if I'm still hungry, I want you to buy me a Baconator at Wendy's afterwards," he said.
Of course, Jiro immediately chimed in on the Baconator front. (Their best buddies had a Baconator over the weekend, and then the monkeys saw a commercial, and that was that.)
I agreed just to shut them up.
Surprisingly, my sister was super excited about the restaurant. Her co-worker had been already he gave it a serious thumbs up. Likewise, my niece was being a good sport, although we all knew she'd rather be somewhere else surrounded my other twelve year old girls texting twelve year old boys.
Ok, let's talk about the restaurant. The decor is fantastic. I'd like for their designer to come redo my house. I can't wait to sit at the bar someday (or rather, late one night).
And it's cool to see the guys making pizzas in the brick oven.
The restaurant has a back patio, which isn't covered, and there is a Bocce Ball court somewhere. I looked for it, but didn't see it, so it must be in the far side of the building because that's the one place I didn't look. I thought it might be fun for the monkeys to play while we waited for the food, but since it was very separate from the restaurant, I opted not to mention its existence.
At the table, my sister and I went right for the drink menu. We decided to share a couple of cocktails--a Sidecar and the Jack Rose. My mom, who was still grouchy, opted for water, and in act of charity, I allowed the children to order Cokes. It took quite a while for the drinks to show up, and my sister's unusually good mood started to fade. She started counting the number of people working in the restaurant (they are all cutely clad in plaid shirts, jeans, and white aprons) and nearly snapped at the one who came to pour us some more water. Thankfully the booze arrived in the nick of time!
We both agreed that the Jack Rose was the best.
Jiro slurped down his Coke in record time, and the waitress quickly refilled it. I asked her to please cut him off after the one refill and she was very understanding and cool about it.
I knew when ordering the cocktails that they were pricey ($10.50 and $9.00 respectively), but I was rather surprised when I looked at the receipt today and saw that the soft drinks were $3. I'm sorry, but that is lame. And it is also why I usually forgo soft drinks in restaurants. (I forgo them everywhere else due to the sugar/caffeine/chemical factor.)
Ok, let's talk about the food. The menu is interesting. (Doodles compliments of Satchel. Sorry, I had to keep him from eating his hand.)
Tracey said her co-worker highly recommended the pork rinds, poutine, and head cheese so we ordered all three. My mom wanted a gulf pizza, Sutton wanted a Margherita, and Satchel wanted the Prewitt without red onion. We figured that was plenty of food, so Tracey, Jiro, and I agreed to not get our #1 choice of pizzas.
The waitress asked if we were cool with just eating whatever came out first and we happily agreed. First up were the prok rinds and poutine.
Jiro looked at the poutine and said, "I need normal fries." Satchel got up from his end of the table, walked over with his fork, and said, "That's the most delicious thing I've ever had." He later ammended his statement to reflect the fact that garlic fries are still #1 and Buffalo fries #2, but he loved the poutine. We eventually just let him have the bowl.
Jiro said the pork rinds were "so good" and ate plenty of them. He wanted to pose and show everyone how much he savored every bite.
When he was done posing, he said, "I still want a Baconator."
By now my mom was loosening up and feeling optimistic about the rest of our food. My sister astutely noted that the way the items are listed on the menu doesn't necessarily make them sound good, or at least accessible. My mom added, "I even Googled some of the words and Google didn't know what in the hell they were! I mean, what's lardo!" It was pretty funny.
The poutine totally whet Satchel's appetite and he was chomping at the bit waiting for his pizza. I had to stop him from gnawing on his fork, plate, and watch.
Next up was the headcheese, which none of the kids wanted to try, and which was fine with the adults.
Yes, that's watermelon. It was weird, but good. Tracey thought the egg should have been runnier, but not me.
The pizzas came out next, and were very pretty. They give you the cutter so you can cut each pizza anyway you like, which is awesome...unless you are dining with monkeys. No, seriously, they did a pretty good job and only slightly mangled the pizzas.
The Prewitt (above) was the kid favorite since it was fairly basic--cheese, sausage, scrambled egg. Yeah, I know, but it worked.
The Margherita was nice, but I thought it could have had a teeny tiny (read--a lot) more cheese on it.
The gulf coast was also pretty, and had a nice sauce with a kick, but the crust was nowhere near strong enough to hold those ingredients. It required a fork.
The crust was really nice and had the perfect chew. The sauce was ok. A little bland on 2 out of 3 of the pizzas. And really, I don't know what they have against cheese. We had considered ordering the Quattro Formaggio but my mom and sister were worried about cheese overload. I have a feeling it may be the only pizza that is actually cheesy.
Since they are doing "authentic" Italian pizza here, I can only assume the Italians don't like cheese the way Americans do. And hey, that's cool. It's certainly healthier that way. I'm just sayin'.
I definitely want to go back and try the things we didn't get to try last night. If I find something I love and crave often, I may return with the monkeys out of necessity. Otherwise, I think I'll stick to adult only dinners and late night gatherings. The prices are a bit high and the servings a bit small to justify feeding growing monkeys here on a regular basis.
I'm not going to mention what our total was because I don't want Warren to know, but it came to about $20 per person. Judging from the website, the menu is the same at lunch and dinner.
The atmosphere is very casual and I think plenty of people are bringing kids. I saw high chairs stacked by the restrooms, but there is no changing table. (Otherwise the restrooms are just lovely.)
They are certified Project Green Fork.
Give it a try.
p.s. On our way out, my mom, who by now was happy as a clam, couldn't resist asking the hostess what lardo was.