There's an old saying that first impressions mean everything and so it was that I found myself in front of Pig & Pie on that lovely stretch of 24th street in the Mission District. My first impression of it was gladness that they kept the original facade of Discolandia, a Mission institution record store that used to inhabit the space. They merely added a small sign with their name--so points for that.
Inside is the standard look of new restaurants these days--lots of wood, some tile, a slight old timey industrial feel--but if the foods good, does it really matter?
The menu is small and very focused on freshly made meats and sausages and yes this is one of those $9 sandwich places. I know, I know, I whine about them, but when places get good press I'm still going to check it out. It's an order at the counter kind of joint so after giving the menu a once over I settle on the porchetta sandwich with a side of braised greens.
The greens were actually quite tasty and I didn't even feel the need to add vinegar to them which I so often do. Sauteed, they have a nice smoky bacon flavor from the bits of guanciale bits and a nice kick from the red chili flakes. With the addition of the garlic and lemon, these were a delicious side dish. The porchetta was basically a pork loin wrapped in pork belly, roasted, sliced thin and served on a bun with cole slaw and a salsa verde aioli. The bun was lightly toasted, soft, yet still hearty enough to hold the meat and slow that were piled on it. As usual though, I might want to suggest toasting with a little butter next time.
The meat was good and tender--and served cold--which I was surprised at as menu doesn't say it's a cold sandwich. While I did think the meat was tasty I did feel it could have benefited from a little heat as the fat on this type of pork can get soft and lard-like when cold so it becomes a fine line between enjoying the meat without feeling like your are just chowing down on a side of cold salt pork/pig skin. The slaw was a vinegar based one which is my favorite, I just think it goes better with pork of most any kind instead of one slathered in mayo. The aioli on it was slight and I couldn't really taste it so I went back to the counter to ask for a small side of it, but what the girl gave me instead was something they call mayostard (I guessed that by looking at their menu) it's mayo mixed with spicy mustard. I asked again if this is what was on the sandwich and she said yes with a cheery smile.
I knew it wasn't, but I just let it go as I liked the taste of it and used it to dip the sandwich in and thought it worked out well enough. Overall a good ample sandwich with some nice flavors and textures, but I can't say I was bowled over by it--good yes, make a special trip just to get one--not so much. Of course if it had been warm and a bit cheaper it might be a different story.
Speaking of cost, I know I rail against $9 sandwiches thus I want to make note that this place showed up on SF Gates list of Bargain Bites in the Bay Area list this year. Their criteria is that you have to be able to dine for about $10 or less and the food has to be good. Every year they stretch the definition of bargain as they do with this place. 1 sandwich will set you back $9 or more and if you add a side or even a beverage you are over the $10 mark very quickly. Personally I think you need to be able to get a full meal or dish full dish not just a single item to make the list, but hey, who am I--just someone who lives on a budget and has a different idea of a bargain.
Okay, I'm done grandstanding. Big sandwiches, decent sides, funky neighborhood--maybe not so much cheap eats, but hey, your choice.