We’d walk over the Brooklyn Bridge (and do) for Sara Jenkins’s porchetta, sliced thickly and piled onto bread at her East Village Porchetta—but the lack of seating and wine list make it mainly an on-the-fly affair. Now there’s Porsena—still porky, but with a long bar perfect for solo dining and tables, including a big wooden one a few steps from the kitchen. Get a group together and book it, as it’s the best table in the house: A reservation puts you entirely in Jenkins’s hands, as it’s family-style only, her choice. She might start you off with tiny red peppers filled with anchovies, as bracing as a cold Martini without the unfortunate after effects; or send out bowls piled high with fat mussels, plenty of liberally garlicked bread on the side to sop up the juices. Her pastas are justly famous, toothy and perfectly sauced—this may be the one restaurant where it makes sense for someone over six to order pasta al pomodoro—but leave room for the secondi, as you may score the Niman pork chop, cracklings and all. Jenkins’s wine list is like her food: direct, mouthwatering and affordable, an array of bottles from small producers and unsung appellations—Jenkins’s idea of picnic wines, if she were cooking.
21 E. 7th St. (btw. 1st & 2nd Aves.), New York, NY
This story appears in the print issue of April 2011.
Like what you read? Subscribe today.