I don’t think I’ve come across a more hyped restaurant in New York in quite a while, and I don’t mean the high-end variety of hype that gushes over sushi flown in daily from Tokyo every day or $1,000 caviar omelets, but an average priced restaurant that is red hot in the press and blogosphere.
FETTE SAU (German for Fat Pig) is a Billyburg BBQ joint that feels plucked out of the 1920s and fused with the ironic trappings of an installation artist’s studio, it can also appear like a parody of authenticity.
I ventured to this new place with four of my peeps (Veken, Carol, Meldia & Arek) and found a fun locale nestled in a mechanic’s shop.
A luscious pink neon sign welcomed us, while butcher shop illustrations papered one wall. A video of a fireplace plays on a flat screen TV and the smell of burning wood/smoked meat permeated the garage cum dining room.
Its been reported that the restaurant has a gas-and-wood-fired smoker capable of slow-cooking 700 pounds of meat at a time–which would explain the smell.
Patrons line up to order from the counter and queue next to a glass case that showcases the pig tails, ribs, pork and other carnivorous delights that are the staples of the menu. I b-lined it for the picnic tables to save space for my crew since the indecisiveness of figuring out how much meat to order was far too frustrating for me–the pulled pork comes in 1/4 lb, 1/2 lb & 1 lb variations.
Another member of our team ventured to the bar to score drinks and returned with beer, letting us know that there was NO DIET SODA (gasp!) or vodka (double gasp!). I’m not a bourbon, whiskey or beer drinker, but I did notice an endless list of each (I even spotted tequila, but alas, no vodka OR gin).
All in all, the dinner was good, and the beer was fine…something local I was told. The BBQ sauce was lovely and the pulled pork was very nice. I have to say that most of the meat tasted the same, though I thought the thick slices of pork belly were particularly lovely to look at and taste.
In terms of sides, the potatoes were dull, the buns were almost sarcastic (I didn’t realize Wonderbread came in that shape) but the beans (with TONS of pork) are amazing…none of us could get enough.
How do I rate this place? Hmmmm….I may take an out of towner here to demonstrate something that is rather uniquely Williamsburg. Fette Sau perfectly encapsulates the lovely cocktail of irony, Americana, slumming and cultural sophistication that makes Williamsburg such a unique place in the world.
By the way, New York Magazine has a useful video about the place (video) and here are some photos from the opening of the restaurant (pics).
Fette Sau, 354 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 718-963-3404 (map)
All photos courtesy my camera phone.
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