There it was, the whole pig, on its back and looking sort of vulnerable, alone on a massive butcher block, beneath a skylight that made the entire scene somewhat Baroque with its dramatic brights and darks, and the huge, open fireplace directly behind. Ryan Farr wasted no time in the butchering. There were the exquisite cocktails, the paper-thin charcuterie, the succulent olive-dotted crepinettes, the pork terrine, the to-die-for pig fat cookies scented with ginger and retaining that magical crisp edge for which lard is so patently perfect.
There were the obvious swine metaphors to be asked: Did we pig out? Perhaps. Was it pig heaven? Definitely. It was a little bit rowdy, a little bit crass, but also kind of classy – a smackdown between a 21st-century dinner party and a medieval court feast. People hovered at the door of the kitchen in order to snag one of the coveted corndogs, composed of slender pork sausage and housemade corn crust, and later in the evening the servers carried the dogs hidden beneath white napkins and beyond the grasp of hands so that they could make it to the other end of the dining hall. Towards the end of the night two youngish men walked in with arms full of crusty baguettes: They’ve just come from Tartine! Someone announces. At the back of the hall, people are grabbing for chunks of baguette, fingering the most delicious blood oranges I’ve tasted all year, and scooping up piles of pork meat and wild fennel slaw into messy, impromptu sandwiches. Pig heaven, indeed.