Something New

First Look: Pork Skins and Bright Views at Poitín

From the owner of Balls Out Burger is a combination experimental cocktail club/neighborhood bar.

By Cory Garcia May 15, 2018

Pork skins preview ucra98

One of the three varieties of pork skins on Poitín's menu.

It was the subtle sound of popping that caught my attention. As I sat at a table organizing my to-do list, I had managed to push away the rest of the sounds inside Poitín—chats between bartenders and those sitting at the bar, workers moving around things in the newly opened restaurant, men in suits discussing how the rest of the day might look—deep into the background, but suddenly my attention was being stolen by the sound of pops. The to-do list would have to wait.

When I saw that Poitín had pork skins on the menu, I knew that I was going to have to try them. I’ve always had a fondness for them, a holdover of them being my go-to snack as a teenager coming back from concerts, and they don’t pop up on nearly enough menus for my liking. Happy hour on Poitín’s first day of service seemed as good a day as any to drop in and check them out, and it was Cajun pork skins and the light pops coming from them that now had all my attention.

Also available in the tomatillo-guajillo and Saigon kick varieties, I was quite happy with what I got out of the Cajun version. The skins are crunchy but never too tough, and my bowl of them packed a good heat with a spice mix that enhanced the flavor of the skins without making my mouth feel miserable for the rest of the day. There’s definitely enough for sharing, especially if you’re the type, like myself, that orders something else so you’re not the guy sitting at the bar on his own eating pork skins on a Monday afternoon.

Poitín is an interesting space, one I look forward to visiting once the sun goes down. The view isn’t bad during the day—the hostess was kind enough to sit me somewhere I could see the downtown skyline—but the dark might round off some of the least interesting parts of what’s outside the windows—someone is going to have to do something with the land that housed Club Nomadic at some point. Still, its massive interior is quite lovely and the outdoor patio has potential to become a favorite depending on how the weather goes the next few months.

It’s a surprising look from the guy behind Balls Out Burger, but I admire its ambition. It has a certain elegance to it without being stuffy, and the hostess was nice to me even though I phoned in my wardrobe, which tells me they’re serious about this combination experimental cocktail club/easygoing neighborhood bar concept they’ve concocted. I caught a bit of the Smoked Old Fashioned someone at a nearby table had ordered in the air as I was making my exit, and almost had to turn around to check it out myself. But that will have to wait until dark, when I can see the view in all its glory.

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