Wood-Fired Pork Shoulder
The Dish: Pork Shoulder
Big Sur Bakery & Restaurant offers fantastic dishes of meat, wood-grilled and roasted to enhance each meat’s warm, rich, and natural flavors. Their roasted pork shoulder is an absolutely awesome plate, grilled with a smattering of whole-grain mustard aioli. You can pick your choice of sides from several great seasonal options. i thought the white French beans with pancetta and braised greens were perfect. Overall, this was one of the best pork dishes of 2008: tender, flavorful, just simply magnificent. The understated decor in the restaurant and the sweetness of the staff just made the dish, and the evening, terrific.
The Cut: What’s Pork Shoulder?
Pork shoulder is the more contemporary term most restaurants use when describing the pork shoulder butt, or what butchers call simply pork butt. It’s a tender, more fatty, and thoroughly delicious portion of the pig if done correctly. But if you call it ‘butt,’ people get the wrong impression and you won’t sell many.
The Spot: Big Sur Bakery & Restaurant, Big Sur CA
Big Sur Bakery & Restaurant is my favorite place to eat in Big Sur, hands down. It transforms from a funky little bakery in the morning that serves up incredible pastries to a lovely and heart-warming little spot for a romantic dinner in the evenings. Every pastry, every dinner I had there was excellent. Two of the three folks behind this little gem are are an emigre couple from Los Angeles, pastry chef/co-owner Michelle Rizzolo and her husband, chef Philip Wojtowicz.
What’s great about Big Sur Bakery & Restaurant is its straightforward, unpretentious excellence and down-home, rustic simplicity: picnic tables on the patio and heavy little wooden tables and chairs inside.
The service is friendly and sweet and, if any place can demonstrate the inexpressibly tender magic of one of the most magical spots on Earth, Big Sur Bakery & Restaurant certainly does. It’s the gastronomic soul of Big Sur, and Rizzolo & Wojtowicz capture Big Sur’s zeitgeist in every bite. It doesn’t just get to your stomach; it stays in your heart.
The Grade: Awesome (5 out of 5)
The Damage: $27
The Skinny: Big Sur Bakery & Restaurant
47540 Highway 1, Big Sur CA
Phone: (831) 667-0520