If you weren’t a sybarite pig when you first walked into Daniel Naumko’s thoroughly captivating, bare-bones West Boca eatery, you will be by the time you walk out.
Let’s say it straight up: Sybarite Pig (20642 State Rd. 7, 561/883-3200) is the coolest, hippest restaurant in Palm Beach County, a place where the size of Naumko’s ambitions are matched only by the paucity of his budget. I mean, really, a restaurant that has to take up a collection to upgrade its ventilation system is making everything but the oink (and coarse-grain mustard) from scratch, something that ought to embarrass the shiitake out of restaurateurs who spend more money on their linen service than Naumko probably did on his entire restaurant.
No matter, the food at the Pig is terrific. And even when it’s just good, the pleasure in seeing a talented young chef follow his own culinary muse come hell, high water and crappy economy just seems to make everything taste a little better. One caveat: If you’re a vegetarian, you should probably put on your asbestos pajamas to avoid spontaneously bursting into flames. The Pig is all about meat, more specifically about meat ground up with lots of herbs and spices and stuffed into a casing. In other words, sausages.
There’s merguez (Moroccan-style lamb sausage), duck sausage, apple-lemon-pork sausage, pistachio pork and Caribbean-style pork sausage, the creamy-textured Italian sausage called cotechino. Oh, and porchetta, the Italian king of all pig preparations, plus Korean-style short ribs, roasted marrow bones, beef and lamb burgers, and all manner of sides, including the wickedly addictive “piggy pinwheels,” a sort of savory strudel filled with bacon, olives and more.
The sausages come as sandwiches or “meat boards” with choice of condiments (all house-made, of course). The duck, merguez and “Hellswine” sausages are piggy good, but the star of the tubesteak show is cotechino, with a rich, fatty, porky flavor and texture like meat-flavored cashmere.
And did I mention the beer? A dozen or so unique, hard-to-find craft beers on tap, another 30-plus in bottles. So do the Pig. It’s all(syba)rite.