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Meat and greet! New eatery Pork Slope goes whole hog

for The Brooklyn Paper
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There are other eateries like it, but this one may have you calling it your own.

When it comes to Pork Slope, which marks restaurant number three for the creative team behind Talde and Thistle Hill Tavern, the third time may not be the charm, but it could very well be the most charming.

“One-hundred percent what we’re setting out to accomplish is to make a place we wanted to hang out in after work,” said David Massoni, one-third of the entrepreneurial team behind this hot new gastropub, “We built it for ourselves but we’re super psyched everyone loves it.”

Fortunately for Massoni and team, his use of the word “everyone” isn’t exactly an overstatement. Though It’s been less than a week since Pork Slope opened on the late Patrick Swayze’s birthday, the high-minded honky-tonk is filled past capacity with a diverse crowd of thirsty Slope residents and industry professionals.

It’s a remarkable feat for any bar or restaurant, let alone a new one, that speaks to how well Massoni understands the nuanced pulse of his neighborhood. Business is booming and thundering in a way that will overwhelm eaters that only came to try the food — a mistake for which those patrons can’t be blamed, given the joint’s porcine name and the widely publicized involvement of Dale Talde, one of New York’s most famous chefs.

“Dale did a great job on the entire menu,” Massoni waxed, “But the ‘Porky Melt’ is his own creation. It’s the one food item on the menu everyone should try.”

He’s not wrong to recommend the “Porky Melt.” It tastes good — very good, in fact. Though it has a soft and ultimately uninteresting texture, the meatloaf patty in it hits that salty-savory spot you look for when you order bar food, and the bacon and onions in it bring it to a place of decadence.

It’s the one relatively unique item on Pork Slope’s competently executed, albeit generic menu. In fact, this deliberate level of meticulous generality is the only major note of criticism here. In trying to make an American dive bar in the tradition of American dive bars through keeping the menu very simple and the decor on the wall immediately recognizable (not another John Deere poster), they’ve created a bar-and-grill that will make everyone — and anyone — happy.

If business stays this good, it’s doubtful the team will do much experimenting. Though you’ve probably been to places like Pork Slope so many times before, you’ll have never seen it done with this much attention to detail. The team responsible knows better than anyone that execution is all that separates a cliche from a classic.

Pork Slope [247 Fifth Avenue between Carroll Street and Garfield Place, (718) 768–7675].

Updated 5:35 pm, July 9, 2018
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