Pig & Pickle Pretty Perfect

Categories: First Taste

All photos by Laura Hahnefeld.
Braised duck leg on mung bean cake
When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out -- and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).

Restaurant: Pig & Pickle
Location: 2922 North Hayden, Scottsdale
Open: One week
Eats: Global-accented fare w/ seasonal touches.
Price: Between $11 and $30 per person

By the time you've taken in the meaty aromas and sat down under its low lights, there is the desire to, if you could, pull the interior of Pig & Pickle closer to you, like a blanket.

See also: Proof, the Comfort Food Restaurant at Four Seasons Scottsdale, Lacking Evidence So Far and Brews and Chews at Fate Brewing Company

Here, inside the Scottsdale strip-mall restaurant from culinary duo Keenan Bosworth and Joshua Riesner (formerly of Scottsdale's top-notch BYOB Atlas Bistro), flavors and textures meet like unlikely lovers: bold and sweet, rustic and sophisticated, gritty and smooth.

It's pretty much perfect.

Pork Shoulder Tostadas
The menu is similar to Atlas Bistro's but less expensive and heavier on the meat. A kind of comfort-food-meets-gourmet listing of starters, salads, entrees, sandwiches, and sweets with global touches and seasonal ingredients.

For starters, there is a dish of three exceptional pork shoulder tostadas ($9) that are less like their moniker and more akin to the best loaded nacho chips you've had in some time. Heaped with tender shredded meat and uniquely paired with kimchi, ginger, and scallions, each bite is salty, porky, spicy, sweet, and crunchy -- like a Mexican-style snack run through an Asian kitchen.

And since you are at Pig & Pickle, why not a pickle plate ($4). A colorful array of house-pickled delights -- including beets, onions, and grapes kissed with anise -- it can be consumed before the main course or snacked on throughout the meal.

Smokey Mussels
If there were a criticism to be found on the smokey mussels entree ($15), it is that the option of having them with or without slices of chorizo seems unnecessary, given the sausage's tame flavor. The mussels do the job in any case, though, gathered in a bowl with melted leeks, crème fraîche, wine, and herbs in a flavorful broth suitable for soaking the pillow-y soft pieces of bread in. The lusciously tender braised duck leg ($13), under a nest of radishes and sweet soy and atop a crunchy and mildly sweet fried mung bean cake, is nothing short of exquisite. A little less bean cake and a little more of the sweet soy may have helped overall, but not enough to stop me from ordering it again.

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I know those guys and I'm so happy you liked their place. Looking forward to trying it.


Not to be critical of your criticism, but I think the reason behind the option of "with or without chorizo" on the mussels is to make that wonderful dish available to folks that eat seafood but not meat. 

Let it be noted that while they have plenty of meat-laden dishes, there are quite a few vegetarian choices as well. I had the Shepard's Beany Pie one evening. It is a vegetarian (not vegan) take on an ethnic meaty dish and it was soooo delicious with lentils in place of the traditional ground lamb. On a return trip I am looking forward to trying the Vegan Burger...with bacon as a $0 adder of course!

Check out their menu for yourself: http://www.pigandpickle.com/dinner-menu.html

Carrie Lynn Brown
Carrie Lynn Brown

Just noticed this place yesterday! Glad to know it is a must-try!!

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