Would you ever dine solely on various courses of offal? No, but doing so, is exactly as illuminating as Chris Cosentino intended it to be on Tuesday night’s offal tasting at Astor Center (described here by gothamist and here and here, by two diners at the same table; video by grub street). There were highlights for me—the beef heart tartare (ground rather than diced because beef heart, Cosentino explained, can be almost crunchy it’s such a sturdy muscle) with chillis and mint and tomato and capers, I loved the fried tripe, noodle-like shaved beef tendon, the extraordinary texture of the coxcombe.
I was genuinely not looking forward to eating the liver crudo, and so it was a revelation to discover that it was at first, not unpleasant at all, and then increasingly interesting and pleasant to eat, with the crunchy raw sugar beets and excellent acidic juniper balsamic. It took three pieces to get to get to that enjoyment place. Yes the texture was a little spongy (like under-sauteed foie gras) but I found the forbiddeness of texture exciting. I asked the crowd for response and at least two thirds thought it a successful dish, with the dissenters unable to get past the texture. I shamed Adam Roberts into eating all three pieces. Excellent dish.
The second excellent part of this dish was learning about the ranch that provides the liver. Broken Arrow Ranch sells free range, in fact wild, venison. They work with ranchers in the Texas hill country and “harvest” (kill) the deer using long range silent rifles. They have trailers to drive immediately to the animal to process it immediately. The deer and antelope live natural lives, Broken Arrow Ranch helps their fellow farmers and ranchers by controlling the deer population, and the animals are killed in a stress-free manner. It’s a brilliant model of humane animal husbandry. (Photos are by Michael Harlan Turkell, thanks Michael.)
UPDATE: Here’s another excellent post on the evening by novelist and economist writer Jon Fasman. The guy has a problem with eggs, so he’s immediately suspect in his judgments. Then again he wrote a great article on charcuterie for the economist and writes serious fiction so what can we know about him truly?