Three Little Pigs
For some reason pork madness has swept the nation, and it seems every restaurant must pay homage to bacon, pork belly or pork ribs. Every now and then you find a place that reminds you why.
Tucked next to East Side Wines on East 11th Street, Three Little Pigs does pork. The trailer proudly displays its “best pork belly” banner from the Austin Chronicle Restaurant Poll Reader’s Picks. Once you’ve had the pork belly slider, it’s hard to argue.
Three Little Pigs has a few standard items and a few that rotate in and out. The pork belly slider is fortunately always on the menu, along with bacon wrapped meatloaf and Asian fried chicken. The rotating items can range from all sorts of nose-to-tail pork dishes (pork cheeks) to non-pork entries.
The day my friend and I managed to get over there for dinner, we ordered the pork belly slider and venison sausage served in an Asian style with jasmine rice, ginger, green onions and roast Brussels sprouts.
The pork belly slider is served with an Asian soy glaze, and topped with sliced of apple and bits of fried scallion. Picking up the sandwich was a bit of a mess because it was actually sitting in a small puddle of the glaze, but the sauce was so good I was happy to lick it off my fingers. The pork belly itself was tender and crisp, avoiding the perils of being too fatty or tough. The crisp sweetness of the apple slices set it off nicely, which is unsurprising given the long and storied relationship between apples and pork.
To the side of the pork belly came a small order of cole slaw, but not your grandma’s 10-pounds-of-mayo cole slaw. This slaw was really just chiffonade cabbage with a very light flavor of sesame and possibly a little rice wine vinegar. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t delicious and perfectly matched with the pork belly.
The Asian style venison sausage was a pleasant surprise since venison is usually served in ways that play to the gamey flavor rather than introducing anything new. The sausage was served in slim crispy slices over a bed of perfectly cooked jasmine rice and Brussels sprouts, then topped with ginger and a Japanese mayo. The Brussels sprouts were served in thin leaves, browned and crispy the way I like them, and the ginger and mayo sauce added a light tang to the venison that complimented the gamey flavor without overwhelming.
An added plus to dining at Three Little Pigs is that the dining tables are set back from the road and surrounded by small hedges, so you actually feel like you are eating on a lovely porch or in someone’s backyard rather than just another spot smothered in exhaust fumes from passing cars.