Those of you who eat meat know that as delicious as chicken, turkey and beef can be, there is only One True Meat. The one that deserves to be called God’s Meat, and that meat is Pork. This delicious, salty, flavorful nectar of the animal-gods is the main reason why I’m not a vegetarian. As chef David Chang of Momofuku has famously stated “everything is better with pork” and this is particularly true, I feel when it comes to dishes of the Asian persuasion.
Unless I am going to MOMA or something like that, or to a movie that’s only showing in some far-flung spot on the Upper-West Side, I rarely, if ever venture above 14th street for any socializing, but I will always make an exception for Pig Heaven, an affordable, magical, deliciously American American-Chinese restaurant on the Upper East Side. I’ve been going there since I was in high-school and it keeps getting better. So as not to frighten away tourists and those afraid of anything too authentic, this spot is so American that they use forks and knives (although chopsticks are available). The space is recently renovated and while the decor is nothing to write home about, the food is the kind of good, solid fare that you want on a night where you don’t feel like cooking but do feel like ingesting an unholy amount of calories.
As the name would suggest,the pork at this place is their claim to fame, and it is as salty and high in calories as any hard-living American could ever hope for. The pork fried rice is absolutely perfect, the spare ribs tender and just sauce-y enough, and pretty much anything else with the magic meat in it is a good bet. Also the egg rolls are perfectly crispy and the wonton soup is a salty, butttery, chickeny affair that will kill any latent cold germs.
Sure they deliver if you live in the area, but who the fuck lives on the Upper East Side? Exactly. Also, if you’re mostly used to Chinese as a take out or delivery food (as most of us are) there is something special that comes from eating this food moments after it’s been prepared. To me, the mark of a truly satisfying meal is the feeling of wanting to pass out on the nearest horizontal surface that I get afterward. At Pig Heaven, I am rarely disappointed and spend most of the long subway ride home in a delightful food coma.
Also? The owner is the sweetest lady in the world and will remember you the next time you come in, even if it’s been five years since she’s seen you. Or…. maybe she’s just pretending?
1540 2nd Ave # 1
New York, NY 10028-3907