The Ravenous Pig

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The Ravenous Pig -- Getting Better All the Time.

The Ravenous Pig continues to be one of my current favorites. There's so much to like about the place: the food is good, the service is friendly and the atmosphere is trendy and vibrant.The Ravenous Pig

As I reported when I first reviewed the Pig for the Orlando Sentinel, the owners are James and Julie Petrakis, who bring considerable experience to this endeavor. Julie was a sous chef at Primo at the J.W. Marriott when it opened and has cooked at the Waldorf Astoria and Union Square Cafe in New York. James worked under Clifford Pleau at the California Grill and then went with him to open Seasons 52.

The menu is not extensive, but what's there is almost invariably delicious. I loved the steak tartare, coarsely chopped beef that had a wonderfully fatty mouthfeel.

And roasted cod featured a beautifully flaky fillet cooked just right and served with a puree of cannellini beans and a bit of smoky chorizo.

The pub menu had lobster tacos, three crispy shells with lightly fried chunks of lobster and crunchy hot peppers. There were also lamb ribs, tender and aromatic, accompanied by lamb meatballs.

And, of course, suckling pig, big chunks of moist meat accompanied by doughy rye gnocchi dumplings.

The signature dessert is the pig tails, a whimsical dish of fried dough curlicues with chocolate espresso sauce for dipping.

I was lucky enough to be invited to a party recently where the hosts had hired the Petrakises to cater. They prepared a whole pig in a way I'd never seen. They de-boned a whole pig and then stuffed it with another de-boned pig, then trussed it up so that it looked sort of like a five-foot-long football. The meat was tender and juicy, but I think I would have preferred something more along the lines of a pulled pork or suckling pig presentation.

The Ravenous Pig is described as an American gastropub, but that doesn't do much to really describe it. It's much trendier than a gastropub, American or otherwise, and the food is far above the standard fare found in one.

But whatever it's called, it's wonderful to have such an exciting restaurant in town, and I'm pleased that it continues to improve.

For details and pricing, plus a sample menu (which changes occasionally) visit the Ravenous Pig Web site.