When Little Giant opened up four years ago on the outskirts of a neighborhood that was slowly expanding it was a bold move. Little Giant was a tiny oasis in the midst of really nothing….yet. The corner of Broome and Orchard has changed. Little Giant is now one of many different store fronts from retail to restaurant. With the success of Little Giant, Julie and Tasha (owners) are expanding with another restaurant which will make its mark in Chelsea (not open yet).
I have dined at Little Giant a variety of times over the past 4 years. They have stuck to their original concept which is a constantly changing menu as the season shifts and of course there is always the swine of the week. My visits over the years have been always good sometimes great sometimes just okay but this past week our visit was a real winner.
I have always loved the fishbowl feeling in the restaurant. Big glass windows that wrap the restaurant sitting smack on the corner so you feel as if you are literally sitting in the middle of the neighborhood. There were six of us. As we all decided on what we were going to eat, I put in an order for a few things for the table. A pile of fried green tomatoes served with a buttermilk dill sauce. Crispy and tasty but the thing that makes the restaurant so endearing is that the tomatoes looked like as if they came out of my kitchen. They weren't perfect they were handmade. Some of the crust falling off while others stuck. The imperfection of the food is what makes the restaurant and the meal such a treat. One feels as if they are eating at someones home who happens to be a great chef. We also shared and gobbled up quickly a small pot of a feta spinach dip. Big chunks of feta they oozed on the crispy bread used for smearing the dip on.
We all got something different. I started with roasted heirloom beets sitting on micro-greens and tiny chunks of goat cheese that had started to melt with the warm beets. Really delicious and full of flavor. Other starters had was a salad plate mixed with figs, pecornino cheese, maytag blue cheese, some greens and pine nuts. Might have been a few other things but it was a nice combination of flavors. Someone else has the roasted squash soup that was rich with flavor and a perfect starter for an Autumn evening.
Dinner was also a hit. One person had the pasta which I didn't get to taste. A few people went with the scallops. Big juicy caramelized scallops served with a curry butternut squash, pine nut and greens. Really good almost too good because scallops are so rich. The fish was a grouper served over a bed of mixed roasted vegetables. Simple and good. I went with the swine of the week. Roasted pork butt that had obviously been roasting for hours because my fork went through the pork like it was butter. This was served over red cabbage that had been braised and a puree of root vegetables. Delicious. Let me not forget that someone had ordered a side order of macaroni and cheese. Dangerously sublime with crunchy browned breadcrumbs over the top. I was hard pressed not to sneak away with the dish so I could eat the whole thing myself.
Dessert was inevitable. We split 3 things. A gooey chocolate cake that had a mint ice cream with chocolate chips running through it. So good. A peppermint patty for dessert. We also had the cookie plate which is perfect for a home cooked place like Little Giant. But hands down the best and a signature dessert is the sticky toffee pudding. A cylinder of a toffee pudding with caramelized bananas on top. Sticky warm and full of flavor with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side to top your spoon with.
Four years and running. Bravo to Little Giant. Looking forward to the addition to Chelsea. I hope they can continue to create the seasonal menu with down home cooking that people will be drawn to not only based on their prices which are not over the top but the desire to feel comfort in the times we are living in now.