Bushwick Gets High on the Hog at Northeast Kingdom's King Arthur Dinner

Leslie Pariseau

The Northeast Kingdom is an idyllic slice of Vermont tucked right up against Maine and Canada. It's also a serene little respite of a cottage in Bushwick, that, were in not for warehouses beribboned with streaks of neon spray paint glimpsed through the front windows, could very well be located in Vermont's bucolic Kingdom. Though it's been open for seven years and husband-wife team Paris Smeraldo and Meg Lipke regularly forage ingredients for the seasonal greenmarket menu, Northeast Kingdom has recently recommitted itself to the practice of sustainably sourcing its ingredients with a decision to use only whole animals butchered in-house. In honor of this transition, chef Kevin Adey picked out a pig, named him King Arthur, and waited for him to grow large enough for a feast. After ten months on Triform Community, a biodynamic farm in Hudson, New York, Arthur appeared in Brooklyn in the form of two 23-course seatings at the restaurant. From perfectly tart deviled eggs topped with glazed bacon to a cocoa-dusted  and pork-liver truffles, the dinner was humbly executed and beautifully articulated with Adey's straightforward cooking. Crisp long beans basted with XO sauce and kicky ginger stood out as a nod to summer's seasonal bounty while a smoky-sweet 17-hour ham atop a tumble of grits and mustard greens were a traditional Southern ode to King Arthur's piglet purport. Though fat-washed cocktails did not make an appearance, peach and bourbon sours and a clean slate-ridden pinto gris went alongside most of the courses without a mumble of discontent. Straight bourbon was a mighty fine move for heavier moments like Cuban bocadillos piled high with melting cheese and slices of pork or a fried peach hand pie bursting full with slices of the tangerine-colored fruit. Not to worry if you weren't present to wish King Arthur adieu. Whole hogs are the only game here now, and Arthur will make an appearance again once he's been aged, dried and sliced. By that time Brooklyn may very well have earned its own A.O.C. designation.

Subscribe to Get More