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“Everything is better with bacon.” Preached by pork fiends far and wide, this common culinary trope is usually more macho motto than testable hypothesis, but Williamsburg’s Belly is putting its money where its lard-slicked mouth is: Enter the “bacon omakase.”
Strictly speaking, every float in this porcine parade—five courses ($30) or nine ($55)—features pig parts, not necessarily pork belly (the classic bacon source). But “bacon omakase” just sounds so damn sexy. (Not surprisingly, first-time restaurateurs Phillip Cho and Anna Lee both have backgrounds in marketing). Partner and self-taught cook Johnny Wooh oversees the kitchen, turning out a rotating cast of mostly Korean-centric dishes in a casual space that pulls heavily from the rustic-industrial playbook (concrete bar, communal wood table, lights dangling from thick ropes—you know the drill.) Behind the bar, a large flat-screen runs seductive photos of the restaurant’s food on an endless loop; if there’s ever been a more convincing PowerPoint presentation, I’ve not seen it.
It bears mentioning that BEATS, Belly’s full-throttle karaoke bar downstairs, is no-fee BYOB for hard liquor. Why? Because at its core, Belly’s bacon omakase makes for magnificent drunk food—not always refined, but with all of its gloriously guilty pleasures laid bare. Kimchi butter spills orange drippings down your fingers as it slowly melts over warm grilled toast topped with a crisp slice of bacon. A pulled-pork taco trickles sweet-hot red-chile-and-ginger sauce down your chin. Honey-gochujang glaze glosses your face as a crumb-crusted, deep-fried rib slaps your cheek before you take a savage bite. This is lip-licking food at its finest.
But #notalldishes. Some plates register as the kind of tasty-but-flawed creations that might have been undertaken by a talented, pork-obsessed home cook. Take the bacon sushi, a slim slice of under-seasoned torched jowl draped over a fat finger of overcooked rice, or a big-ass ricotta ravioli, tough and toothy at its crimped edges, smothered in viscous pork-shoulder gravy that’s begging for salt. Of course, these imperfections are nothing that a boozy pre- or post-dinner karaoke sesh can’t smooth out.
BY: DANIEL MEYER
219 Grand St
|Cross street:||between Fillmore Pl and Grand St|
|Opening hours:||Daily 11am–midnight|
|Do you own this business?|