It was with no small amount of dismay last week that I learned of . Il Buffone was the recent reincarnation of Olives Café & Wine Bar, and still one of my favorites. I had been eager to revisit the venue after its makeover and I was extremely disappointed about missing my opportunity.
Mourning the loss of Il Buffone, I chose to cherish the restaurant’s memory at its “sister” establishment, The Winged Pig. Also opened by Olives/Il Buffone’s Michael Young, The Winged Pig in downtown Edmonds is a bar with a bill of fare including plenty of generous bites to balance the beverages.
Stepping through the door of a quaint exterior recalling the Old West, I seated myself and thumbed through the clipboard menu. As should be expected by the bar’s moniker, pork in various forms frequently popped up among the offerings and pieces of porcine artwork adorned the walls.
Though the blonde, bespectacled bartender was the only apparent member of the wait staff, she managed the tables with aplomb. My dining companion and I kicked things off with cocktails ($7-9), my choice being the “modern classic” Strawberry Lemondrop. The sweet and tangy blend of strawberry puree, lemon juice, and triple sec was a delightful grown-up take on strawberry lemonade. The beverage roster also features old school drinks, wine, and beer.
Our shared dinner plates arrived at essentially the same time, but we respected protocol by first digging into a generous bowl of Chopped Salad ($10). A hearty entrée salad on its own, the plate was a more-than-ample starter for two people to share. Spicy salami! Tender shrimp! Smoky bacon! The proteins mingled with creamy avocado, crisp Romaine lettuce and petite tomato halves in a mosaic of inviting flavors and textures. The fresh components were delicately graced by a creamy herb dressing which enhanced the ingredients without weighing them down.
To our pleasant surprise, we found that The Winged Pig’s Shrimp & Bacon Tacos ($12) weren’t mere miniatures of an original. The three mid-sized flour tortillas were filled with cured meat and plump pink shrimp as well as a slaw flavored with hints of lime and cilantro. Although the menu description referenced Mexican cheese, we were left searching for dairy in our dish. Whereas the blend of protein and vegetables did well as it was, a sprinkling of cotija would have been the perfect note of completion.
Rounding out our pig-centric dinner was the Trio of Pulled Pork Sliders ($7). The small, lightly toasted buns were over-stuffed with boldly sauced barbecued meat that bowled over their dainty rings of pickled onion. I found I preferred mellowing a forkful of pork with a bit of the accompanying creamy coleslaw for succulent bites reminiscent of a backyard summer get-together.
The Winged Pig ultimately sent us on our way with full bellies and pleased palates. This pork-lovers’ paradise provides satisfaction with a solid menu of inexpensive plates and cocktails both classic and contemporary. 21 & older only…you'll have to bring home the bacon for junior.