First Taste: Porchetta

roast pork sandwich from Porchetta

Nowadays, less is more. When veteran chef Sara Jenkins (formerly of Il Buco and 50 Carmine) was casting about for her next project, she decided to go small. The result is Porchetta, in New York City’s East Village. Calling the place a restaurant doesn’t quite hit the nail on the head—it’s more of a food stall, with a few stools along a counter and a bench outside. The namesake viand, porchetta, is the fennel-and-garlic-stuffed pork roast often sold from white food trucks by the roadside in central Italy. Jenkins improves upon the formula by using a Hampshire-hog pork loin and cooking it in an Electrolux oven that alternately provides dry and wet heat. The wet heat makes the interior tender, while the dry heat turns the skin wrapped around the loin gloriously golden and crisp.

Jenkins stuffs each sandwich with meat and swatches of skin and smears the crusty bread with herbal stuffing, which, in the Central Italian style, also contains tidbits of liver for richness. No other dressing is needed. The only accompaniments on the menu are plain beans, steamed bitter greens, and crispy potatoes that have been cooked with the burnt ends of the roast. For dessert, there’s biscotti. Some complain the sandwich is too small—but when something is this rich, who’d want more?

Porchetta 110 East 7th St., New York City (212-777-2151;

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