Diners Pig Out At Art & Soul

New Jersey Avenue was full of the smokey aroma of pork and oyster Wednesday evening, floating from the patio of the restaurant Art & Soul.

A packed crowd rubbed elbows (literally) and chowed down on roasted pig and oysters, previewing the menu for the restaurant’s weekly patio dinners that begin next Wednesday.

Area journalists unfortunately didn’t show up to take advantage of the booze and food. But maybe these pictures will be incentive for the next spectacular pigfest.

In recent years, that restaurant has prepared a crab broil for the weekly feast. But Art & Soul Executive Chef Wes Morton (“Like the salt,” he explained) said this year he wanted to change things up.

“We wanted to adjust what we did and kind of reinvent it and do something that’s more fitting to what our model is and who we are as a restaurant, as a company and as chefs,” Morton said. “We serve a lot of pork and pig in the restaurant, it’s kind of who we are.”

Tricia Barba, marketing and PR manager of the Liaison Capitol Hill hotel, which houses the restaurant, agrees the porky menu is fitting for Morton.

“[Morton] is well known for his love of the pork, love of the pig,” Barba said.

Sausage and ribs were served alongside oysters, and Barba said other cuts will be available in a limited quantity for those with an adventurous palette. Diners looking to pig out on more unique cuts can choose from pig head, ears, cheek, tongue, jowl meat, trotters (feet) and tail.

“You have to be a little adventurous, like me, to try that,” Barba said.

Her favorite are the ears, which she says are crispy and “tough to chew.” She explained, “Imagine cartilage if you’ve never had them before.”

To wash everything down, bourbon punch was on hand. It’s available by the bowl for $40, but Barba said the large servings are not to be hogged by one person.

“It’s meant to be shared, unless you want it all to yourself,” Barba said. “But walking out, you might not be too happy.”

The dinner is served as a three-course meal starting with a snack board, then pig and oysters as the main course and closing with dessert.

Tickets are $35 per person and more information about the menu can be found here.