To enjoy Bauer’s tête de cochon, you must plan ahead. The restaurant needs three-day notice to find a pig from a local farm. Also required is a willingness to attract some attention from your fellow diners. A whole pig’s head is carried tableside and carved in the open, the server noting more esoteric cuts like the tongue. Have no fear, though: Cooked sous vide with sage and thyme aromatics and then oven roasted and lightly torched, most of the pig’s head, once carved, has the familiar taste of good pulled pork, but with an extra helping of fatty, crispy skin. The richness of the meat demands something sour, sharp, and light as accompaniment. From sunchokes with mustard and fennel to sauerkraut dotted with coriander seed to pickled veggies, chef Jackson Rouse’s spread is an encyclopedic display of pickling and preserving prowess. Eaten with the meat, the sides turn what could have been a novelty dish into a truly satisfying meal. We left with ears and snout for our friend’s dog, but politely declined the offer of the skull.
Bauer European Farm Kitchen, 435 Elm St., downtown, (513) 621-8555
Side items, clockwise from top: Plum and beer mustards; pretzel bites by Tuba Baking Company; house-fermented sauerkraut; house-pickled vegetables; vollkornbrot (German whole grain seed bread) by Blue Oven Bakery; housemade German potato salad; pork jus.