Best Thing I Ate This Week: Pork Chop with Plum, Fennel, and Basil at Ruthie’s
I’ve already hyped up the rolls at Ruthie’s, a cart tucked away on the patio of wine bar Someday on Division where everything is cooked in a wood-fired oven. Made according to co-owner Collin Mohr’s grandmother Ruthie’s recipe, they’re delightful little folded-over pillows of fluffy, lightly sweet dough, baked to a shiny bronze. These bread babies are also the basis of the cart’s rockfish sliders—a standby with crunchy iceberg and a slathering of aioli. And in my round-up of the Best New Carts of 2021, I also gave some love to the tomato, corn, sheep cheese, and popped sorghum salad, which whirls together all the flavors of late summer with toasty popcorn notes.
But I’m here now to say that the sleeper hit of Ruthie’s menu, helmed by Mohr and co-owner and childhood friend Aaron Kiss, is anything pork. A couple weeks ago, I had a pork coppa with peaches, padron peppers, and chicharrones that stunned me with its fatty marbling, the toasty, sweet-tangy peppers, and the oven-caramelized fruit balanced by slightly salty chicharrones. This week’s menu has confirmed that the coppa was no fluke. Mohr and Kiss have done it again, this time with a pork chop paired with plums, thinly sliced fennel, and basil. A thick-cut porkchop arrived on the plate cut into careful slices, each perfectly cooked bite draped with a golden sweet-sour peachy sauce. The best bite of all: the meaty bone served alongside the chop, beautifully charred in the fire. Paired with a light red Hungarian wine from Someday's menu, it was an experience simultaneously primal and ethereal.