This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef: A Sandwich Restaurant in NYC
Grabbing a slice at Artichoke on East 14th Street in NYC can be a frustrating experience (long wait, nowhere to sit, indifferent attitude), but we do go there, and often, because the pizza is so outstanding: topped with fresh ingredients, baked to a nice char, always exploding with flavor. One bite into our slice (a Sicilian or an Artichoke, usually, though some swear by the Crab Dip), and all is forgiven. Recently the men of Artichoke, Staten Islanders Francis Garcia and Sal Basille, have expanded their East Village presence to include Led Zeppole, the fried-Italian-dessert spot next door (it's on our list of must-visits), and, just last week, the no-frills sandwich shop This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef, down on First Avenue near 9th Street. We stopped by on Saturday night and wolfed the entire menu. Unfortunately, This Little Piggy sandwich restaurant in NYC has many of the same atmospheric annoyances as Artichoke, but, for now, without the deliciousness to make it worth our while.
Though This Little Piggy Has Roast Beef seems positively palatial compared to Artichoke, your only eat-in option here is to stand before a narrow countertop, knees colliding with a garbage can. We got the window at least, which was nice, but still… this sandwich restaurant in NYC is not the place for the claustrophobic (nor the germ-phobic, but that's another story). By 6:45, This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef was packed, mostly with groups of guys milling about waiting for their take-out. Like their pizza-throwing counterparts, the sandwich-makers here won't win any efficiency trophies.
Anyway, the food. Right now This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef has three things on its sandwich menu…
1. This Way: Hot Roast Beef, on a roll, au jus, with Cheez Whiz;
2. That Way: Hot Roast Beef, on a hero, with fried onion, melted mozzarella, and gravy;
3. The Other Thing: Not-hot Pastrami, on rye, with cole slaw and mustard.
Both This Way and That Way were excellent food bargains (That Way, especially, is a monster), pilled high with just-steamed, well-done beef, and no skimping on the cheese. But both were surprisingly bland–salt and pepper are required, and some Trappey's Red Devil would have helped things considerably–and the soft roll on the This Way was no match for the wetness of the meat and cheese, and it all very quickly dissolved into a mess. The Pastrami at This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef was the real dud, however, the meat gristly and dry, the bread not much more interesting than cardboard, the take-away flavor of the whole thing being "mustard."
This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef also has a few sides, including a creamy, serviceable, home-made Macaroni Salad and some thick-cut Fries which, though impressively potato-y, were too soggy to truly recommend. Now, given our deep appreciation of the pizza slice the Artichoke crew has brought to the East Village, we're not counting out This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef just yet. But right now, these roast beef sandwiches are still a tweak or two away from being true belly-filling goodness.
This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef Details
This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef is located on First Avenue between Ninth and Tenth Streets in the East Village of NYC. The hours seem sort flexible for, but it was open by 6:00 on Saturday, and promises to stay open until 10:00 on weeknights, and 1:00 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.