Montclair’s foodie-friendly restaurant scene has regularly received acclaim from diners for years, but the Pig and Prince takes it to a whole new level. Built in the remnants of the old Lackawanna train station, Pig and Prince features the work of some of the most skilled chefs and bartenders in America.
That being said, it’s very difficult to fully explain Pig and Prince’s ambiance. The remnants of the old train station can be seen in the architecture, but at the same time, modern lighting with iron accents and brushed metal artwork make you feel like you’re in a music video. In its own unique way, Pig and Prince brings a slightly punk-rock, slightly steampunk nuance to a fine dining experience. And, despite its open layout, Pig and Prince remains remarkably intimate in terms of acoustics.
If you ask any of the waiters, they’ll be able to tell you a little bit about Pig and Prince’s unique architecture and history. The original building was named the Lackawanna train station, and it was in use until 1981. It was nationally recognized as a historic place only years earlier in 1973. While there, MetNights found out that the architect who built the Lackawanna train station, William Hulls Botsford, actually perished while on the Titanic. All of the main dining room retains the old station’s hardware. We also found out that one of the original benches of the train station that was donated to the restaurant was also made out of a tree that no longer exists anywhere on the planet. In other words, there is a lot of history at Pig and Prince, and at times, you can even feel it in the air.
Chef Carrino’s claim to fame was that he has an overwhelming passion for farm-focused food, and every single dish on the menu proves that he deserves that honor. Every little detail of the meal that can possibly be done in house is actually done in house. From the water filtration, to the freshly baked bread, to having a fully functional curing room for outstanding steaks, meats, and charcuterie boards, Pig and Prince boasts one of the most hands-on culinary experiences in the state.
The menu at Pig and Prince changes seasonally – and that includes its drink menu. This is done for two good reasons. First, it’s a farm-to-table restaurant, and that means that many of the ingredients used will rotate based on seasonal availability. Secondly, this is a restaurant that is just as much about discovering new flavors and experimenting with fine ingredients as it is about delivering a memorable experience. Chef Carrino even offers a specially tailored, behind-the-scenes tasting menu featuring dishes that are specially prepped to suit one’s liking for this very reason.
In terms of both food and drink, this venue is a foodie version of heaven, especially if you love meat and specially infused liquors. Their Brando martinis, for example, feature bitters that has been infused with tobacco and leather essences. The house steaks and charcuterie boards feature meat that has been aged or cured in-house, complete with some of the most delicate seasoning work you’ll even enjoy. No matter what you pick on the menu, you can expect a superb mix of flavors and textures that will make you rethink the concept of food and understand the meaning of true culinary inspiration.
Despite its reputation for being extremely upscale and foodie-friendly, the Pig and Prince is not in the least bit snobby. This is the kind of venue that has been known to shoot music videos for punk bands, host corporate parties for professionals, and also just be a great first date location for guys who really want to impress girls. Unlike many other fine dining venues, everyone is welcome here, and so is every event.
This venue has been leaving people amazed at farm-fresh food since 2012, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. If you’re looking for a restaurant that will wow you with the best food you’ve ever tasted without the pretention of many other top rated venues, Pig and Prince is a must-see. It’s not just a restaurant, nor is it just a party venue, nor is it just an upscale bar. Rather, the Pig and Prince is a real experience that everyone should enjoy at least once.
CHEF OF THE MONTH
PIG & PRINCE, MONTCLAIR FOOD AND GATHERING PARADISE
By OSSIANA TEPFENHART