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4 restaurants in NoVA making pork neck the main attraction

Tip-to-tail-minded chefs have a new favorite part of the pig that’s a cut above the others—literally. Here’s where you can pig out on the super-succulent, fabulously flavorful pork neck.

grilled pork neck
The traditional Balkan grilled pork neck from Ambar. (Photo by Heather Victoria)
City Tap

For: Braised Berkshire Pork Neck
“We try to elevate pub fare and comfort food,” says concept chef Ian Branning. Case in point is the Berkshire pork neck seared golden brown and braised until it’s fork tender. Served in the style of a steak, the primo protein is glazed glossy with cooking jus. It sits on white cheddar-laced grits and comes with a side of collard greens pumped up by caramelized onions, bacon and ham hocks. // 20376 Exchange St., Ashburn

Padaek

For: Lao-Style Grilled Pork Neck
You won’t see pork neck on the menu, but it’s there. Chef Seng Luangrath decided to list it as pork shoulder because diners are more familiar with that cut. Sliced thin, it’s marinated in complex mixture of caramelized sugar and fish sauce accented with an onslaught of herbs, most notably lemongrass. Grilled to order, the meat is best eaten by using a dab of sticky rice as an edible utensil. Make sure to dunk it in the sweet-spicy-sassy jaew sauce. // 6395 Seven Corners Center, Falls Church

Buena Vida

For: Pork Neck al Pastor
Alexis Samayoa, corporate chef of Latin concepts, loves pork neck because the fat marbling in it rivals bacon. The extra lard ensures juiciness and tenderness when the meat is cooked. After being marinated with annatto seeds and guajillo chiles for a full day, the meat is seared super quick—just seconds a side. It’s complemented with roasted pineapple to add a smack of sweetness and a touch of acid to offset the richness. // 2900 Wilson Blvd., Arlington

Ambar

For: Grilled Pork Neck
The traditional Balkan dish (pictured) has been on the menu since the restaurant opened in 2016. It’s a simple but satiating meal. After the meat is marinated, it’s thinly sliced and grilled over charcoal. It arrives on a bed of mashed potatoes, covered in a blanket of miso-mustard sauce. Since many diners aren’t familiar with pork neck, servers often suggest it as one of the plates they receive as a part of the restaurant’s prix fixe all-you-can-eat option. // 2901 Wilson Blvd., Arlington

This post originally appeared in our February 2020 print issue. For more food-focused content, subscribe to our weekly newsletters.

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