The Big Deals

Suckling Pig :: Troquet, $39
Don’t take this the wrong way, but there are a lot of pigs in this city. Some come wholly dressed; others in the form of pork chops. And then, for the brave, there are the big, fat, meaty heads. My pig — the version that allows me to indulge in the whole animal without paying $50 per plate (an average around town) — is the roast suckling specimen found at Troquet. The dish features a hunk of thigh or shoulder, which chef Scott Hebert cures, then confits, and finally pan-roasts à la minute to create a crackling, caramelized skin. The saddle and loin are turned into porchetta, and the rillette — feet, cheeks, and neck blended with a brunoise of carrot, cornichon, and whole-grain mustard — is rendered into a pressed rectangle of flaky, gamey goodness. Nothing is wasted, not even the bones, which make a stock that’s swept across the plate — a finishing touch I’m happy to put my money into. 140 Boylston St., Boston, 617-695-9463, — Naomi Kooker

Toscanini’s :: Ice Cream, $5.50
I’ve been the victim of brain freeze at just about every ice cream shop in town. So when a craving for frozen custard strikes (which it does almost every Friday night), I forgo the half-gallon of Hood and can of Reddi-wip for two unadorned scoops from my all-time favorite spot: Toscanini’s. Why is this place a deal? Owner Gus Rancatore’s confections aren’t merely ice creams. They’re works of art. This shop’s flavor variety is unrivaled, from the famous burnt caramel and the refreshing khulfee — nuts, cardamom, and oftentimes saffron — to the mind-altering brown butter/brown sugar/brownie (a.k.a. B3), a confluence of dominating dessert forces. Then there’s the texture — thick, silky, delectably creamy. Rancatore produces them all on site, with impeccable ingredients — chocolate by Callebaut and Cacao Barry, leaves of fresh mint and tarragon grown in Dartmouth by Eva’s Garden, and locally sourced honey. He even whips his own cream to boot. Add it all up, and I’m happy to part with $5 and change. One scoop, $4.25; two scoops, $5.50; 899 Main St., Cambridge, 617-491-5877, — Brittany Jasnoff   

Arirang House :: Korean Lunch Buffet, $9
A buffet, if it does its job, leaves you disgusted: disgusted with how much you ate, disgusted with how you now feel. But at the Back Bay’s Arirang House, I manage to eat like a glutton without feeling like one. The steamed broccoli, the seaweed salad — options I don’t see at my other buffet haunts — complement the heavier choices, such as the grilled meats. You leave the place with the air of a well-fed, moderately healthy person. Who just got an incredible deal. 162 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, 617-536-1277. — Paul Kix  

Matt Murphy’s :: Dinner for Two, $30 per person
At the end of a workday, when my pregnant belly is screaming for sustenance and the family budget is busted thanks to baby gear, relief for my husband and me is found in a window-side banquette at Matt Murphy’s Pub. This fish and chippie recently got a glossy new coat of paint (noise-reducing ceiling panels in an Irish pub — really?), but the staffers haven’t lost their genial manner. Here we get what feels like a $100 dinner for just under $30 each. We can take the edge off with phyllo-bound, house-ground sausage rolls, a mini crock of the tavern’s maple-laced baked beans, and comforting shepherd’s pie. Occasionally we’ll tackle the delicate puff-pastry tartlet, which brims with wild mushrooms and tangy goat cheese. We even stretch our dollar with one of the massive desserts (two spoons, please), knowing it will be worth every penny. 14 Harvard St., Brookline, 617-232-0188, — Erin Byers Murray