Saturday, February 20, 2010
Restaurant Review: Pork Belleez
The eyes of the waitron at Pork Belleez had that gripping, ancient mariner-style intensity that one always looks for in a server. When the waitron said, "I'll be taking care of you this evening," I felt like I was in some sort of hand-cart being sent down a railroad track into a spooky cave. That's when I knew I was going to like Pork Belleez and everything about it. If you haven't been to Pork Belleez, you may think that it's an eatery devoted to pork and other pig products--far from it! As the waitron explained, "We're about more than just pork. Our mission statement is wider than that, thank you very much." A field of crackling electricity hummed in the air between the laser glare of the waitron and my own friendly, otter-like orbs. If the food were only half as riveting as the waitron's gaze, why, Pork Belleez was going to be quite a thrill ride! Whether it was madness or just dedication, the eyes of the waitron had me primed for a fantastic Pork Belleez experience. The ambiance at Pork Belleez could be summed up as unpretentious, casual fare, much like the snack bar at the roller rink of my youth. I remember gliding gracefully up to the counter as the top-40 hits of the mid-seventies breathed from the ceiling. The menu board was made up a plastic sheet into which black and red letters could be affixed. I don't recall precisely what I had that evening nearly 35 years ago (I mean, really!) but it was most probably a hot dog of some sort. And that's the kind of feel you get from Pork Belleez. It would be blasphemous to compare the place to high-end eateries like Simply Slop or Food Ghost, and so let me say it brings back that "hot dog in a roller rink" feeling we all know so well. In my 2009 round-up I mentioned this restaurant's delightful mascot, Uncle Pig, who roams the aisles of the eatery like a pig-shaped squeak toy the size of a small hut. Delightful! And as he walks, Uncle Pig indeed gives an incredibly loud and forceful squeak with each hoofstep. With a chef's hat propped on his head, the good Uncle is always ready with a grunt and a wave for Pork Belleez patrons. Wave back at Uncle Pig, now! And get ready to chow down, because your entree has arrived. Pork Belleez has a tadpole bisque to die for! I used the convenient one-size-fits-all elastic strap to put on my Belleez bib and dug in. Next, I enjoyed dessert, a mesmerizing tray of ice cubes made from that wonderful lemon-lime Squirt beverage. Now, I am not known as the warmest human being in the solar system. I will have no need for cryogenic freezing at the time of my demise, let us say. And leave it at that. But there's something about Pork Belleez that just gives me a warm, amber glow. And I cannot for the life of me explain why! Ah, weary traveler, when you see that Pork Belleez logo on the exit sign on the interstate, pull over, why don't you. Perhaps you are an exhausted rock star, in need of sustenance. Let that tour bus find its way into the parking lot of this comforting restaurant. Drop a few ashes into the black plastic ash-receptacle near the front door if you're so inclined. If this is your first time at Belleez, I truly envy you. What a thrill to step into this pork goldmine for the very first time, before the jaded season falls upon you. And I can speak of the wonders of this place until I'm blue in the face (hmm...that might be interesting!) but I sometimes doubt whether these reviews I write have ever inspired one single person to visit any of the fabulous bistros that I have judged to be the greatest of their kind. Oh, well. All I can do is say, "Hey. It's a good restaurant. It's called Pork Belleez. I really think you're going to like it. You know, I was there the other night and I gave it a pretty good review. You don't even have to remember what you ordered last time, because the waitrons take notes!" Pork Belleez, I give you a well-deserved Five Snouts!