Review: Rager Pie Experimental Wednesday

By , 2016年 1月 29日

Rager Pie, undoubtedly Beijing’s premiere pie & coffee counter, is in the midst of expansion. Before they take over the adjoining lot and outgrow their current six-seater setup, they’re running a weekly experimental set menu to try out new ideas for the larger space. Pangbianr food correspondent/hutong pie scene invisible hand Maya Rudolph reports.

I need to begin this article with a disclaimer that is neither humble nor false. Without me, there would be no Rager Pie. Therefore I have a something of a personal investment in the establishment I am reviewing, which is the #1 thing you can’t do if you’re going to be reviewing things. Like I give a shit! It’s 2016 and everyone knows everyone. Anyway, we’ll get back to this.

For those not in “the know,” or “the now,” or those who have never done anything cool in their entire lives, Rager Pie is the funnest and smallest place to eat pie in China. It was started by a kindhearted lion named Wilson and a beautiful lioness named Emilie and together they made pie and coffee and it was good. Now, thanks to a consummate showmanship that will stand the test of time, Rager Pie has begun a series of weekly pop-up dinners with multiple-course surprise menus and special cocktails and lots of ingenuity. If it were 2009, the New York Times Thursday style section would write an irreverent trend piece about it! But it’s 2016 now and, as mentioned before, without me there would be no Rager Pie.

Because Rager Pie is the smallest restaurant in the world that isn’t a truck, seatings are capped at six people. Most people RSVP through a Wechat group in pairs or solo if they are real losers, but I gathered a crew and together we trooped in for the 8 o’clock seating with the confidence of having at least five friends. The meal was cooked by Zachary, who is Wilson’s brother and a fine fellow. We began the meal with bowls of puréed roasted chestnut and vegetable soup, which looked like dung, but tasted as rich and gorgeous as I am in my dreams. It was like eating all the lip liner from a ‘90s R&B video (sidebar: why is there no R&B spinoff musical genre called RMB?) if lip liner were delicious and it were Thanksgiving every day. The next dish involved what I now am positive is my favorite food, which is fried garlic. I already knew that fried garlic was the most magnificent of all God’s creations, but hot fried golden cloves of garlic on baguette was like…[appreciative food/sex noises].

I should mention that the meal was vegetarian, but there was so much food! Quantity is apparently something people need to be reassured about when eating vegetables in a restaurant setting. They’re vegetables, people. Get over it. They taste great and will keep you from getting shingles.

But, whatever, because a massive serving of risotto al funghi followed the garlic toasts. The flavor of the risotto was ever so-slightly on the bland side, but the rice was creamy and satisfying. We were also all quite drunk at this point, having drunk all of the Ragerhaus wine and some shrub cocktails with thyme. All I know about shrub is that it’s some kind of old/new rustic/urban mixological/whatever with vinegar, which isn’t really my jam, so I kind of admired the drink (love a pink drink) and traded it for some fried garlic. Good trade. Speaking of vinegar, there was also this other salad of blanched vegetables with a sherry vinaigrette, which was a refreshing and unorthodox salad course.

The final course was a ratatouille, which we all tucked into like vultures despite having just eaten roughly three million grains of rice bathed in beautiful dairy fats. The ratatouille was fresh and light with more baguette to sop up the juice.

Having a dinner at Rager Pie basically combines all the best parts of all possible dining experiences: the excitement of a pop up’s evolving menu; the intimacy of a small dinner party; the not-having-to-do-anything-ness of a restaurant; and the glowing pie case of a diner, bakery, or pie shop. Ironically, we were not served pie for dessert, but a light and well-balanced lime mousse with coconut. Could be good in a pie, was great even on its own. By the end of the meal, we were all so full and so glad to be just where we were. Some places are like trend pieces and others just feel like home.

I taught Wilson how to make pies. The truth is out. BOOOOOM.

Learn more about Rager Pie at their website, and RSVP for their Experimental Wednesday dinner series via Wechat (@wilnos) or the phone number below. Note: they’re now doing two Wednesday seatings, at 6pm and 8pm.

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