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Offal


Simon Majumdar
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Hi

Just back from NY and just off again at short notice.  So, need a bit of advice

I am a huge fan of odd cuts, offally bits and gizzards.  In London I can feed this fetish at St John's as I did last night ( Hare Pie with a side of deep fried pigs tails ) but would like to introduce a chum in NY to the delights of "nose to tail eating"

Any suggestions?

S

(Edited by Simon Majumdar at 11:12 am on Nov. 8, 2001)

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If I read you right, you want to introduce your chum to offal in New York.  You are talking my language.

Here are some favourites.  Menus change, of course, so you might want to check with the restaurants:

Brains in black butter and sweetbread dishes are often on the menu at the inexpensive La Lunchonette in Chelsea.  Same organs are also among the specials at Alfredo's, but they had sold out when I tried to sample.

Several black pudding/sausage options.  Les Halles on Park Avenue usually has it, but I find their version a bit soft and runny.  Better experiences at Chez Josephine on 42nd and Florent in the meatpacking district.  You will find variations on the dish in Philippino restaurants such as Cendrillon and Latin restaurants such as the Old San Juan on 9th (or Old San Juan Too on third).  The San Juans also have good grilled veal sweetbreads.

At this time of year, I hear the oxtail at Blue Ribbon is excellent, but I haven't tried it.  Lots of upmarket restaurants venture oxtail ravioli, but that's a bit wimpy, right?

Cheap and delicious pig spleen sandwich at a storefront sandwich bar on First Avenue called La Focacceria.  Can't find the address - it's a few blocks up around fourth street.

Ever eaten duck's blood?  Rush to the Malaysia restaurant at 48 Bowery (it's actually down an alley way leading west off the Bowery just north of Bayard).  They do duck's blood (which is like liver-flavoured jelly) about twenty different ways, and everything else I've tried there has been cheap and delicious too.

One of the most exciting offal experiences in the five boroughs is buying frituras (tongue, pig's cheek, intestines (no, not tripe, intestines), morcilla, etc) from one of the Dominican vans parked in the Bronx.  That's a tough assignment unless you're a confident Spanish speaker (and okay with hanging around the Bronx after dark), but I'll look up a location if you're keen.

If you want something more elegant, consider L'Absinthe, an expensive Upper East Side bistro which used to serve sensationally good calve's head with a leek salad.  Last time I was there they'd replaced it with a fancied up stuffed pig's feet, but it wasn't hearty enough for me.  (They do offer whelks from their raw bar - not offal, but I suspect appeals to the same sophisticated palate.)

Generally, Chinatown is a good and obvious bet.  Your only problem is going to be whether the offal dishes are listed on the menu in English.  Puerto Rican and Domincan restaurants (try the Lower East Side or Alphabet City in Manhattan) usually serve mondongo, the tripe stew.

I have the impression you are not planning on buying and cooking yourself - that would be a whole other list.  Kidneys are not readily available, and what I have also not found in New York are testicles (or rocky moutain oysters, if you insist).  If anyone knows where to buy or eat them, I'd be most interested.

(Edited by Wilfrid at 11:57 am on Nov. 8, 2001)

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Babbo is the obvious choice among "hot" restaurants. I'm going back on 11/12 (or 12/11 in Europe) and will try to remember exactly what is on the menu. Last week I believe there was calf's head and tripe among others. Batali's Roman place, Lupa, on Thompson would have "abats" also, but I haven't been there.

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Quote: from Wilfrid on 9:55 am on Nov. 8, 2001

also not found in New York are testicles (or rocky moutain oysters, if you insist).  If anyone knows where to buy or eat them, I'd be most interested.

You just missed it this year, but you MUST write it on your calendar for 2002.  What?  Why, the Rocky Mountain Oyster Festival in Montana, of course.  Almost an entire week of "nutty" fun held each year around the middle or end of September.  Food, fun and nudity.  How much better can it get?

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Quote: from Wilfrid on 11:55 am on Nov. 8, 2001

Cheap and delicious pig spleen sandwich at a storefront sandwich bar on First Avenue called La Focacceria.  Can't find the address - it's a few blocks up around fourth street.

Actually, it's right below St. Mark's place, next to the former St. Mark's Bar and Grill.

La Focacceria-128 1st Av @ St Marks Pl--------------------212-254-4946

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Don't forget all the Argentinean places, where a mixed grill gets you a nice cross-section of the animal. La Fusta in Elmhurst is a favorite, though there are several in Manhattan as well.

Also, you'll find hearts et al. at most of the Brazilian rodizio places. The ones in the boroughs are likely to have the funkier stuff.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Quote: from Lily on 3:34 pm on Nov. 8, 2001
Quote: from Wilfrid on 9:55 am on Nov. 8, 2001

also not found in New York are testicles (or rocky moutain oysters, if you insist).  If anyone knows where to buy or eat them, I'd be most interested.

You just missed it this year, but you MUST write it on your calendar for 2002.  What?  Why, the Rocky Mountain Oyster Festival in Montana, of course.  Almost an entire week of "nutty" fun held each year around the middle or end of September.  Food, fun and nudity.  How much better can it get?

I have had Rocky Mt. oysters at the Perona Farm Game dinner. None of the male chefs would taste them.;)

Rosalie Saferstein, aka "Rosie"

TABLE HOPPING WITH ROSIE

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Have kidneys really disappeared from most French restaurant menus? I suppose they may have, as I've not ordered them in a while and most certainly would if I saw them on the menu. Sweetbreads are pretty common. I'm sure of that. I had wonderful sweetbreads at Craft last night. Balthzar has a great blood sausage that's offered with poached eggs and potatoes for brunch. I don't know when they serve brunch. I've only had it on Sundays. Cafe Boulud once offered a terrific tripe stew on its changing menu and I've actually had tete de veau at one of NYC's fanciest restaurants, but it wasn't on the menu and I doubt it will ever appear there.

Duck blood is pretty standard fare at most Dim Sum places in Chinatown, but as often as not, they don't offer it to non-Chinese unless you ask for it.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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We went to Les Halles specifically for their game week recently - looking forward to all sorts of ucky things most American  don't want. When the maitre d' led us to our cell...well, he had to completely pull the table out to get one of us in. As a bladder phobic, I jokingly asked, "what happens if he has to pee?"  The server replied, "just wave and we'll get your out". Unacceptable to me. We were really curious about their special game menu but  could not stand to be seated (stashed? slumbered? stashed away?) utop another table nor smashed inbetween. We ended up going to Raoul's where the non-smoking section was full of smokers (explained away by the staff as wacky Amerians) before settling in for a lovely meal at Quilty's.

Sorry. The topic was offal. I love the sea urchin mousse at Aki on W. 4th and just about anything they do to offal at La Lunchonette on  18th aand 10th Ave. or at Odeon on w. =Broadway.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Teresa's (2nd Av. betw. 6th & 7th) serves a nice tripe soup. Great New York Noodletown (Bowery and Bayard) serves a beef muscle noodle soup (I like to get mine with shrimp dumplings). You can get pig's ears and such-like at Bo Ky (Mott and Bayard). And, of course, chicken feet are a standby at every dim sum place. And of course, there's pho with navel, tendon, and omosa.

Say, can any expert describe for me what part of pho is the navel, which the tendon, and which the omosa (what the heck _is_ an omosa, anyway?) One of them is a fibrous sort of disc-shaped thing, and I think I might prefer to order my pho without that one thing.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Pan, I'm no expert, but I'll take a crack at it: I believe omosa is tripe (stomach; also called omasum in Chinese -- I'm more familiar with the Taiwanese version of this dish than I am with the Vietnamese), which would be the honeycomb-like (usually -- there are actually different kinds of tripe depending on which stomach chamber is utilized), squishy stuff in the pho. Tendon, properly tenderized, is gelatinous and fat-like. The stuff you don't like is almost certainly the navel, which appears as a tacky, rubbery sheet. I don't like it either.

I have a couple of Vietnamese food books around, but they're in the bedroom and the wife is asleep. I'll try to remember to double check this information tomorrow.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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When tendon is not properly tenderized is it the thing that I had suspected was kneecap?

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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You rarely see kidneys on menus in NY. My husband loves them and when he saw them offered as a main course (it may've been a special) at Montrachet a while back he went for it.  Problem was a big plate of rare kidneys on their own ended up being heavy going!

Red Cat serves spectacular liver.

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Yes, the absence of kidneys is much deplored by many of us expatriate Englishers in New York.  Occasionally one can find ris de veau - veal kidneys - on French menus.  I expect that's what they served at Montrachet, and they offer it at La Cote Basque too.  Lamb kidneys, however, are an everyday dish in England.  They are much smaller than veal kidneys, cheaper, and have a similar texture, but a different, stronger taste.  Fried, grilled or devilled, the English even eat them for breakfast.  The only place I have seen them offered in New York was at the Union Sq greenmarket stall which sells lambswool rugs, mittens, etc - and they were all out.

Pigs kidneys are readily available in Chinatown, but I don't think they are as appealing.  When I was a poor student, I ate a lot of ox kidney too - tough, pungent, but only around 60 cents a pound.  Haven't seen that here either.

To be frank, I haven't actually looked for cow's udder!

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Sorry Wilfrid, but "Ris de Veau" are not Veal Kidneys but Sweetbreads.

Places that pride themselves of serving Veal Kidneys, are often serving them roasted whole, still inside their fat enclosure, or sliced and sauteed. Lamb Kidneys are seldom served with any of its fat. Whereas Pork Kidneys often find their way into a sweet/sour "Geschnetzeltes"

Peter
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Thanks for your response, Fat Guy.

It does make sense that the disc-shaped thing would be the navel, but I'm not so sure the omosa is tripe because I know what tripe looks like and don't remember seeing it in pho. Perhaps it _is_ tripe, but shredded or something, such that its usual appearance is altered beyond recognition.

Off-topic, but I am unsure what order I'm seeing posts in in each thread; doesn't seem to be by date, except now, when I'm preparing to post a response.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Pan, as I think I started to explain before, tripe comes in several varieties depending on which stomach chamber is utilized and how it is prepared. Honeycomb tripe comes from one specific place (the inside lining of the second stomach chamber; at least in Western cooking, this is considered the premium tripe) and is the most recognizable, but plenty of tripe just looks like nondescript whitish flesh and is simply cut into small strips. I'm as close to sure that omosa is tripe as I can be without actually speaking any Asian languages, but I'll attempt to confirm it. The last time I had omosa-tendon-navel Pho (I say last time as though I have it all the time, when really the number of times I've had this dish in my life can be counted on the fingers of half a hand), in Vancouver a few months ago, it had actual honeycomb tripe in it, though.

You wanted to know about the order of posts. It is, in normal display mode, always forward chronological: first post at the top, last post at the bottom. When you go to make a post, it switches to thread-review mode, which is reverse chronological: most recent post at the top. This is because when reading a thread it makes more sense to read it in order, but when responding it makes most sense to see the most recent messages (the ones to which you're most likely to be responding) first.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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