Adventures of a Gastronome in Training (GIT)

One amateur foodie's quest for culinary enlightenment. Musings on cooking, dining, food products, basically all things edible are fair game.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Small bites: Craft vs. Hearth and Kurobuta Ham

Taking Sides

It’s logical to compare Craft to Hearth given Hearth’s chef used to work at Craft and Craftbar and Tom Colicchio is a financial backer of both. Plus, they serve some of the same dishes – notably side dishes of gnocchi and hen of the woods mushrooms. Well, now that I’ve been to both and sampled the sides at both places – it’s time to take score. In the gnocchi battle, score one for the underdog - Hearth does them best. I've never had a meal at Hearth without them. Not to take that lying down, Craft comes in with the superior mushrooms. It's astonishing just how good a simple mushroom dish can be. Don't get me wrong, I would happily scarf both at either place. But, I just thought I would put my 2 cents out there…

Kurobuto Ham

I don’t know if we were boon-dogged by David Rosengarten or not, but Marty and I decided to order a half Kurobuta ham through him for Easter (I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted…). We cooked it up Easter Sunday with great success. It was delicious and savory with distinct ham flavor and a certain richness. Kurobuta pork has more fat marbling and shorter muscle fibers, the meat was incredibly juicy and tender. It made for several decadent (yes, ham can be decadent) meals. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever had ham as tasty. Now, I have never made an Easter ham. In fact, neither of us had any real experience with hams – with the exception of the uninspired product that ends up thinly sliced on a deli sandwich. Sure, I had heard of Smithfield hams, but I don’t think I’ve had one anytime in recent memory. That’s where I run into the problem, Smithfield hams are about $30-40 cheaper than this special made Kurobuta ham. Would we have been better off with the standard Smithfield and $30 bucks in our pocket? With no point of comparison, I couldn’t say. I guess the next logical step is to find an occasion to cook up a Smithfield, and go ham crazy for another week.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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4:51 PM  
Blogger AzianBrewer said...

I think the first time I had Kurobuta ham was in Japan. Kuro means black and buta the word for pork or pig in Japanese. So, it is the meat from a black pig.

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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5:30 PM  
Anonymous John Bridges said...

Smithfield is COMPLETELY different from the Kurobuta ham that Rosengarten sells. The Smithfield is a dry cure ham, aged, country ham. You can buy it raw (which required cleaning, soaking, and long cooking), or pre-cooked. A true Smithfield ham is very strong in flavor, very salty, not sweet, dry, generally not moist. You slice it very thin, and eat small amounts. If you want to try a country ham, I'd recommend trying a pre-cooked non-aged country ham (like the Burger's Kettle Cooked hams). That's somewhere inbetween a city ham and Smithfield ham.

1:21 PM  

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Jennie/Female. Lives in United States/Jennie Auster/New York, speaks English. Eye color is blue.