Off-Topic Review: Belly
Belly is a restaurant in Eugene near 5th Street Market specialising in pork belly, as you can tell. I’ve been wanting to go to it for a while, because my parents went to it on their own and said it was delicious. So when I got a chance, I was very excited. After, though, I wasn’t as happy. It was still good, though. We walked in. It was surprisingly tiny. It looked kinda like a bar, but not in a bad way. My mom said it reminded her of an Irish bar. It was pretty cute, actually. But anyway. The food. We started out with the gougeres, a fancy name for cheesy bread puffs. They were just what you’d expect from the name, cheesy and bready. But nothing special. We also got the salt cod fritters, which were deliciously crispy and fishy, but not offputtingly. They were a bit greasy. No one could eat more than one, though. There was a sauce with them that was very delicious. Nobody could figure out what it was. It was garlicky. It tasted like aioli, (gah, had to consult Google for that spelling) but was distinctly buttery. I’m going for garlic butter, but who knows? Whatever it was, it was delicious.
Then there was lentil soup, seemingly everyone’s recipe for lentil soup except ours. We use the one in Diet For A Small Planet, most people use this dark flavored recipe with pork in it, which is why it was at Belly. It was pretty good, but not as good as the one we usually make. The mushroom tart was rather meh. It tasted like mushrooms, but the crust tasted like a Pepperidge Farm pie crust. Next, though, came the star of the night. The pork confit with pomegranate seeds and some kind of sweet liquid…I forgot. Maybe it was pomegranate juice. It was ultra-meaty, and tasted nore like pork than most pork I’d had. It was basically the essence of pork. I wish it was my main course. But it was gone quickly, and then came the main courses.
We got duck leg confit and country pork stew with prunes over polenta. The country pork stew was mine. The prunes were surprisingly good, as they were cooked to make them sweeter than usual and they went well with the salty pork flavor in the stew. But it needed some bread, or something. The tiny block of polenta wasn’t enough starch for me. There were no bread baskets, and I’m a notorious bread basket eater, (if it’s a crime i want to be a criminal) so i was displeased with the lack of starch. As for the duck leg confit, it was a bit too salty. I didn’t eat a lot of it.
As for dessert, I got a chocolate tart that had the same crust as the mushroom tart, but as a chocoholic, I was satisfied with the chocolatey goodness inside. Dark and creamy, it tasted like ultra-chocolate ganache. Yeah, it was good. But still not as good as my standard for great desserts in Eugene, Marche, which is very close. I suggest you just go there for dessert afterwards.
Belly was pretty good. It wasn’t my favorite thing in the 5th street area (which is an area with a high concentration of deliciousness), but it was good. I would go there again, because I feel like they had a weak menu for the season (they have a seasonal menu) and they’re a new restaurant. It was a glimpse at greatness, but it needed more starch and better crust for things. They had the meat down, though. The meat is their area of expertise, as well it should be for a place called Belly.