LIFE is TOO SHORT to NOT TRY THIS… WELCOME to DELICIOUS!
After a busy Saturday of running around, my fellow Food Spy and I were in search of a high quality (life is too short to eat crap), low maintenance (jeans and flip-flop mode) meal along the Jersey Shore. For months I’ve been hearing of a place called The Committed Pig that started at the beach, and had grown to a couple of locations someplace up north – so I whipped out my ubiquitous cell phone, spoke to my digital assistant, and voila! There she was! Cool logo, mouthwatering pictures and an address. Another short conversation with the GPS and off we were to Main Street in Manasquan. En route, scrolling down the pages (at the red lights of course), we saw a mostly burger and grilled cheese menu. So the initial euphoria subsided as we are not normally Saturday Night “burger people” – hey, the Food Spy has a reputation to maintain – and in fact, my companion hadn’t had a restaurant burger in “years”, being a mostly healthy “salad and fish person”. But nonetheless, after some tennis-match banter, we stayed our course and stuck with our initial intuition. And as the kids say (or text), “OMG” – what a complete find The Pig was!
We entered into a semi-dark, casual, almost college-like beachy dining room with a dozen or so tables, where patrons were smiling, busy working on protein-centric dishes and conversation.
A closer look at the menu stated the burger base was a blend of hanger steak, short rib and brisket (a custom blend by Pat LaFrieda, a legendry popular local butcher). Our curiosity was piqued, and then with a quick glance at the adjacent tables already served, we were quickly mouth-watered and were anxious to read/eat on!
After a quick conversation with our knowledgeable and friendly server, explaining it was our first time, she was almost excited for us to experience The Pig. The creative concoctions on the menu were inspiring and we gambled and went with the Baked Brie Burger (creamy brie, bacon and fig) and The Good Morning Burger (pork roll, egg and imported gruyere cheese) both with a choice of fries, kettle, waffle or sweet potato (with a salad option for the weak at heart). As dishes flew by, we second-guessed our selections with woulda, coulda and shoulda’s and eyed the Pig Fries appetizer (waffle fries with mornay sauce, bacon and gravy). But when our plates arrived, we came full circle. After letting the smells fill the air above our table, we had to decide how to attack the burger with manners or without. Bite one… eyebrows clenched and eyes squinted – WOW. Literally the Best Burger Ever? (And I’ve had dabbled on some of the best around the world). Understanding the gravity of what I just wrote, I sense your skepticism – but we were told this is not far from the common first reaction people have after they take their first bite. The menu has something for everyone – here’s a taste. If you want to live dangerously, one of the menu’s most decadent items, the Burgernut is two burgers and American cheese, sandwiched between slices of a glazed doughnut – the burgers’ salty juiciness playing flirtatiously off the doughnut’s sticky sweetness is debauchery. Also of note is the Jalapeno Popper with cheddar jack, tempura peppers and cream cheese – crazy! Another major part of the menu consists of gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. We honed in on the garlic avocado with sun dried pesto, muenster cheese grilled in garlic butter and The Croque Madame with sliced ham, fontina, gruyre and white cheddar cheeses grilled on sourdough, topped with a fried egg and mornay sauce. Also on the menu page are crazy colorful fish tacos with battered cod, purple slaw, pico de gallo, chives and corn pudding. The smooth three cheese mac & cheese served with bacon and collard greens were a great entrée or side, or better yet, on a burger! The piece-de-resistance is the 20 Dollar Burger which is 1 pound of chop meat, American cheese, BLT with onions, mayo, ketchup and mustard (or any combinations) served on a fresh brioche bun.
Beyond the burgers is all other kinds of awesome, all day breakfast with options like creative omelets, bacon and eggs and oversized gourmet pork roll sandwiches (with toppings like imported cheeses and tempura avocado) as well as cookie dough pancakes and Nutella stuffed French toast. The place is JUST as popular in the morning, so the take away here is I can’t wait to go back for breakfast.
The atmosphere is always casual, friendly and un-pretentious. This BYO has three locations; Main Street in Manasquan, Springfield Avenue in Summit and “on the square” on Park Place in Morristown. So go hungry, forget calories and open your taste buds to Jerry Rutunno’s Committed Pig. The Committed Pig is located at 168 Main Street in Manasquan, check them out here.
Live well & eat well.
The Food Spy
The Food Spy seeks and finds hidden, and perhaps not so hidden epicurean gems in and around Monmouth County, NJ promoting the notion that good wine, good food in good company is one of life’s simplest and civilized pleasures. Sharing these gems is the mission of The Food Spy. The Food Spy is an active contributor for both Zagat and TripAdvisor and accepts input, ideas and gem suggestions from readers and be secretly contacted at email@example.com.