Co-owners Craig Hotchkiss and Albert Greenwood, also owners of Oak Haven Table and Bar, opened Bull & Swine in July of this year. Bull & Swine, located at 969 State Street, New Haven, is just a couple blocks away from Oak Haven Table and Bar. We were invited to a complimentary tasting to see what they are all about.
The owner’s mission at Bull & Swine “is to provide hand-crafted, thoughtful food and drink to the local community, with a major emphasis on service and attention to detail that allows us to supply a superior product to our incredible city, and, further, to highlight and serve the explosive growth and vast diversity of the East Rock and State Street Communities.”
Chef Paul Cordero offers a blend of barbecue styles ranging from Texas to North Carolina, and Memphis to Kansas City while focused around a Southern style approached. They put a New England twist on the barbecue style by using brine with apple cider vinegar in to represent the New England region as known for apples.
A variety of tasty cocktails are available to accompany your preferred style of barbecue, such as the Cajun Lemonade, a spicy blend of Pimm’s No. 1 with chili pepper-infused Deep Eddy vodka and lemon juice.
Or go with the Smoked Watermelon Fresca: a combination of Corralejo silver tequila and Xicaru mezcal that is sweetened with watermelon juice and little bit of mint and tonic water.
The alcohol in these cocktails can be quite potent so ask before you order.
Whether you are visiting Bull & Swine for just a drink or one of their eight draft beers or dinner, one can start off with one or several of their “Bites” or appetizers ranging including:
- Smoked Deviled Eggs
- Beef Marrow
- Fried pickle okra
- Bacon whipped asparagus
- Elotes (grilled corn on the cob)
- Cajun fries
- Eight brined, smoked, fried wings, or
- Sweet Heat Bacon
In the mood for a sandwich, try either the Fast Battard – smoked brisket, cole slaw, and barbecue sauce on French bread; Carolina pulled pork – slow smoked pork shoulder with yellow mustard and cole slaw on a brioche bun; fish and chips; or large marge burger – ground brisket patty with sweet heat bacon, smoked cheddar cheese, red onion and New Haven Sauce.
Smoked and more smoked main dishes are available to satisfy one’s palate:
- Smoked beef brisket
- Smoked chicken – boned, dry rubbed half or whole bird
- Smoked meatloaf – a blend of beef onions, shallots, garlic, and ketchup, then smoked
- Pound of smoked turkey leg
- Island chicken – jerk marinated, smoke chicken that is then buttermilk coated and fried
- St. Louis spare ribs – brined, dry rubbed, slow smoked
- Pork shoulder – brined, dry rubbed, slow smoked
- House made chorizo
- Pork belly, or
- Wings – brined, smoked, fried wings with smoked blue cheese
To accompany your choice are several sides or “fixins” as named at Bull & Swine: home made grits, grilled vegetables, dill potato salad, baked beans, collard greens, sweet potato mash, corn bread, cole slaw, and mac n cheese.
If in the mood for “greens” or salads, try the Garden – mesclun mix with cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion with apple cider vinaigrette; Chopped – palm hearts, grilled corn, red onion, black olives, and tomatoes served in a bibb bowl topped with buttermilk ranch dressing; or BLT – candied bacon, baby arugula, fried green tomato, and brown butter vinaigrette.
For the most part, we enjoyed our dinner at Bull & Swine. The cocktails were on par but a bit on the strong side. Our favorite appetizers were the Smoked devil eggs and Sweet heat bacon. We enjoyed the grits and corn bread. Unfortunately we didn’t like the spices that were used in some of the more traditional sides like sweet potatoes and collard greens. While the spices may have been used to make the food more interesting and different, when it comes to barbecue and Southern food, we like our traditional flavors to come through. The beef brisket was outstanding and the island chicken was real moist. Of course, food tasting is a personal thing so you will have to try it for yourself and see what you think.
Bull & Swine is open Tuesday through Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, noon to 10 p.m., and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Happy Hour is Tuesday through Friday from 5 to 7 pm and Friday and Saturday from 9 to 11 pm