Young and Hungry

Bar Food Bites: Green Pig Bistro

Y&H's bar food column is back. Each week, we'll bring you dispatches on bar bites and happy hours across the region.

Into the verge of the suburbs, bordering Crate & Barrel and The Cheesecake Factory, Green Pig Bistro in Clarendon opened in April and quickly hit the ground running with the type of technique-driven food more commonly found in young, hip restaurants on the opposite side of the Potomac.

Owner and chef Scott Harlan, a former star of the late Inox in Tysons Corner, and chef de cuisine Will Sullivan are offering a menu of pig ears, sweetbreads, and pork cheeks that makes for some hot haute comfort food.

The bar space at the front of the restaurant—with a long communal pine table, a handsome white marble bar top, and a set of contoured, reclaimed wood-and-metal stools—is a fine place to dig into the snacks and sides sections of the menu.

The duck liver gravy poutine is stoner food for the epicurean crowd. A heap of skin-on fries is dowsed in deep, booming-rich gravy, dotted with slivers of seared medium-rare duck liver, and topped with a house-made cheese concoction that is more Velveeta than Valençay.

The hits continue. Reaching south of the border, avocado adds seductive suppleness to crunchy pig ear tacos.  Snail and mushroom toast pits briny black snails against earthy button mushrooms in a salty/woodsy game of back-and-forth played in an herb-enhanced cream sauce that practically spills off the plate. A sweet ode to East Coast summers comes in a spicy rock shrimp roll, bound with a dab of cool mayo and wisps of cilantro and scallion.

Not every dish succeeds.  I didn’t love the fried pimento cheese orbs, which were flavorful, but goopy and oily, or the bacon cheeseburger, which had bits of cured pork mixed into the beef and tasted strongly of raw, flabby bacon. But these were exceptions to an otherwise accomplished list of small plates.

The lengthy wine list is interesting and expansive, but at the bar, parked in front of the sleek flat-screen television tuned to the ballgame, the food goes better with beer.  Downing a couple of pints of Devil’s Backbone Congo Ale or a refreshing pilsner from Lost Rhino will make it that much easier when I stumble onto the scorching summer street to walk toward the train back to the city.

Green Pig Bistro, 1025 N Fillmore St., Arlington, Va.; 703-888-1920; greenpigbistro.com

Photo by Justin Kennedy

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