Boston: Pork Menu at Tremont 647
I'm writing this at 4:00AM, because in my sleep I just figured out the culinary pun (I'll get to that later) from last night's dessert at Tremont 647, whose pork tasting menu runs through February. I've learned to always expect the unexpected whenever I'm at Tremont 647: a dish I wouldn't usually order turning out to be the biggest hit of the night, or a background component of a dish upstaging the other ingredients and leaving the biggest impression. Last night was no different.
Pork is often referred to as a blank canvas, ready to take on whatever flavors the chef imparts. I also like to use an art analogy when I think of different chefs and their approaches to food, and chef Andy Husbands is acrylics all the way: bold strokes, bold colors, bold flavors. I was expecting the trademark layers and layers of flavors, but last night he took a more painterly approach, using watercolor strokes to incorporate the supporting flavors while allowing the pork itself do the talking. Unexpected, but it worked really well.
The changing pork menu is now in a Thai phase, and the current appetizer is a crispy pork belly with a sweet and spicy glaze. The layers and layers this time were textural, from the crispy exterior to the chewy meat below to the soft underbelly of the belly. The flavor? Pure pig, with the glaze accentuating rather than overpowering the porky goodness that was already there.
Next up was curry pork loin, each slice pink, surprisingly delicate and served on the same plate as pho (dipping is optional) with slippery rice noodles; you can't get any more texturally diverse than that.
The lychee tapioca with candied bacon brittle dessert echoed the first course in both its sweet/savory pairing and its chewy/crispy mouthfeel tandem. I made sure to eat the pearls before swine.