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“Porchetta-- Closed Now”

  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out Italian Brooklyn Moderate Great

The other night, in the cold pouring rain, Diana, Steven, Katy and I met for a pre-Thanksgiving dinner at Porchetta on Smith Street. We hadn’t been able to coordinate a date in eons, and I was looking forward to sitting down together for a bottle of wine and a nice meal. Just as we had settled into one of the red banquettes lining the French doors at the front of this new restaurant, my cell phone rang. It was a number I didn’t recognize, and for some reason I decided to answer it. I don’t know why. Maybe I thought it would be a major network TV executive offering me a food anchor job, or my agent telling me the first draft of my novel was flawless, or an editor telling me they loved a recent pitch and were calling to give me a great assignment. But no, it wasn’t any of these dream calls. Bummer. It was one of my closest friends, who was calling from the hospital. She had taken a running spill at work, and fallen so hard that she had broken both her arms and her left wrist. No, I am not kidding. After I said, “Oh My God, I cannot believe this,” about a thousand times, she told me she was okay, just in some degree of pain, and that she had two friends with her to take her home, but she was calling to see if I could come and help her out the next morning since she could not really use her hands at all. I told her I would be there, of course. But I thought it was quite hilarious that my friend had organized it so that I would not have to miss my dinner. She knows I love her and all, but she also knows that that meals come first. And this one was one I would not have wanted to miss. The chef at Porchetta is Jason Neroni, someone I have long admired from his days working under Colin Alevras at the original Tasting Room, to his stint as the chef at 71 Clinton Fresh Food, where he worked until the owners shuttered it last year. If you’ve ever tried his Tasmanian sea trout tartare with pickled mustard seeds, charoli nuts, and quail egg, you know he’s got something more than talent. He’s got that added element that comes from some place deep inside of you; it’s a thing called soul.

First off, Jason is not just a chef who says he shops at the Greenmarket, he’s really there. I know this because I often run into him. Peter Hoffman is also always there, as are Wylie Dufresne, Marc Meyer, George Men ... [more, click below]

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