When Noble Pig opened in 2012, my initial review noted, among other things, that it had potential. Now, almost two years later, much of that potential has been realized.
The menu has both expanded and shrunk – pizzas are gone, but a list of authentic Thai dishes has been added – and furnishings have been updated with the pending arrival of marble-topped pedestal tables that chef/proprietor Brandon Kahlich says are intended to give the one-room space more of a bistro feel. Best of all, the quality of the food, which was very good from day one, is, if anything, even better.
Barbecued ribs, pulled pork and cornbread, meet rice paper-wrapped fresh rolls, cashew chicken and Bangkok-style fried rice.
The offbeat combination works, because Kahlich and his wife, Parinda, who met in Phuket, Thailand 18 years ago, are equally able to handle the Thai dishes, which are prepared exactly as they are in Phuket. That means that instead of asking patrons if they want their dishes mild, medium or hot, correctly prepared dishes are brought to the tables along with fish sauce, soy sauce, ground red pepper and fresh lime with which to season according to their individual palates. “But taste it first,” Parinda tells them.
And please don’t reach for the salt and pepper. That’s for dishes from the other side of the menu, should they be needed. But judging from such stand-outs as the well-trimmed Berkshire baby backs, crisp around the edges, juicy and easy to nibble off the bone, and the four house barbecue sauces – Carolina vinegar, Carolina gold, smoky/sweet Detroit and tomato-based Memphis - the salt and pepper can stay atop the double-covered tables.
The ribs, as well as the pulled pork, pulled chicken and chopped brisket are full of flavor imparted by marinating and overnight smoking over apple and hickory woods. Sides include a creamy mac and cheese, barbecued beans, onion rings and more, all made fresh in the kitchen on a daily basis.
Notable Thai dishes include my favorites, gai phad khing -- stir-fried chicken with ginger, straw mushrooms and slender strips of Thai chives -- and yam moo- pork salad with cucumber, jasmine rice and chile-lime dressing.
For dessert there’s house-made organic ice cream in such flavors as Belgian chocolate, mocha almond and lemon meringue.
The hard-working couple have made the most of their white-curtained storefront with black-and-white photographs of New Orleans set against vibrantly colored wooden shutters, and a collection of artistic renditions of pigs and crowns. Whether American barbecue or exotic Thai flavors happen to be your pleasure, Noble Pig delivers. Literally and figuratively.
19222 Mack Avenue, Grosse Pointe Farms
Call: (313) 640-4115
Hours: Lunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and dinner 5-8:30 p.m. Tues.-Sat., dinner 3-8 p.m. Sun. Closed Mon.
Prices: Smoked meats, including one side, $13.95-$23.95, salads
and sandwiches $5.95-$8.95,
sides $2.95; Thai dishes, appetizers $6-$8, mains $9-$14, desserts $5.25-$6
Credit cards: All major
Noise level: Low
Wheelchair access: No barriers