Tasting Tour: East 7th Street

by Jessica Allen, 10/03/2012

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  • Porsena and Porsena Extra Bar
    21 E. 7th St., 212-228-4923
    110 E. 7th St., 212-777-2151
    With two wildly popular restaurants, chef Sara Jenkins has constructed a mini-empire on East 7th. It all started with pork—roasted pork shoulder, seasoned with rosemary, sage, fennel pollen and other spices, to be exact. In opening Porchetta in 2008, Jenkins sought to re-create the street food of her Roman and Tuscan childhood. There are a handful of other options, like a Lebanese chicken sandwich, but pig gives the restaurant its name and its ragione d'essere. As you wait, you can flip through photos of happy livestock at Niman Ranch, where Jenkins buys her meats. Closer to Third Avenue, Porsena turns out handcrafted pasta, such as parmigiana di melanzane with béchamel, as well as maccheroncini with meat ragù. Next door, newly opened Porsena Extra Bar was created, in part, to give people a place to wait for their Porsena table, but its uncomplicated Mediterranean small plates may prove to be draws in and of themselves, especially a mousse made from mortadella and served with house-pickled vegetables and crostini or the "grilled kimcheese," with pureed kimchi, aged cheddar and mayonnaise. 

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