The Most Offal Lunches Midtown has to offer…
While I was in London a few weeks ago, I got to eat at the Mecca of Offal, Fergus Henderson’s St. John’s Restaurant. Pork fat, pig’s head, bone marrow, and ox heart were the highlights, and you can read all about my meal, complete with photos at Serious Eats. With Fergus in NYC this week, promoting his new book “Beyond Nose to Tail“, and that truly decadent meal still fresh in my mind, I thought this might be the perfect opportunity for a list of the Best in Midtown Lunch entrails, organs and animal bits that don’t often get used.
Best Oxtails, tripe, sweetbreads and more- after the jump…
Here is my list of the best in Midtown Lunch Offal:
- Oxtails @ Margon. (46th btw. 6+7th). It’s not organs, but it’s not exactly leg of lamb either. If you love equal parts meat and marrow, oxtails is your dish- and while there are good versions at most of the Latin food places in Midtown (one is picture above), Margon is the best.
- Thinly Sliced Beef Tendon @ Szechuan Gourmet(39th btw. 5+6th). When it comes to entrails and organs, few do it better than the Chinese, and in Midtown nobody does it like Szechuan Gourmet. The menu is packed with goodies, from ox tongue, tripe, and intestines, to fish heads and pork belly. But the undisputed king is the spicy beef tendon.
- Cabeza Taco @ Tehuitzingo (10th Ave. btw. 47+48th) Sure, you can get regular beef, chicken and, carnitas, but make sure to sample the beef head taco as well (pictured above on the far right). Not into beef meat that’s been stewed out of a cow’s head? Try the oreja (pig’s ear), suadero (beef belly), or tripe tacos instead.
- Kare Kare @ Bayan Cafe(45th St. nr 3rd Ave.) Filipinos make some awesome offal stews, and Kare Kare is the gold standard. Bayan Cafe’s version has oxtail and tripe, stewed with vegetables in a Filipino peanut sauce.
- Chopped Liver Sandwich @ Sarge’s(3rd Ave. btw. 36+37th) Chopped liver is like a gateway offal, but I’m going to include it anyway- because it’s still liver! Chopped liver was probably the first bit of organs I ever learned to love. It happened at Sammy’s Roumanian- but that’s not in Midtown, so we’ve got to settle for Sarge’s Chopped Liver Sandwich. Not a bad replacement!
I also feel the need to mention these dishes. They don’t fall into the Midtown Lunch category (too expensive, and most are only available for dinner), but they’re all in Midtown- and totally worth mentioning…
- Fritto Misto alla Lucchese @ Insieme (7th Ave. @ 51st) There is no better easier way to enjoy organs than fried, and these are done perfectly. The “Sampler Platter” of offal, you get sweetbreads, liver and veal tongue.
- The “Limited Menu” @ Yakitori Totto (55th btw. B’way & 8th). For weird chicken parts that have been skewered and grilled, Yakitori Totto is the place to be. Unfortunately for us Midtown Lunch’ers, yakitori is an after work thing, and the soft bone, heart, and gizzard on a stick are all not available until after 5:30 pm (when the restaurant opens).
- Sweetbread Tacos @ Toloache (50th btw. B’way+8th) I’ll be the first to argue that you shouldn’t need to pay a lot of money for great, authentic Mexican food- but when it’s this fun, inventive and delicious, it’s hard to complain. The little chunks of veal glands are carmelized and topped with corn and pasilla salsa.
- Sauteed Chicken Gizzards w/ Garlic Sprout @ Sake Bar Hagi (49th btw. 6+7th). This Izakaya would be my favorite Midtown Lunch spot, if it was only open for lunch. Like Yakitori Totto, izakayas are after work spots- so Sake Bar Hagi doesn’t open until 5:30pm either. Small price to pay for the best gizzards I’ve ever had. (Disclaimer: They are also the only gizzards I’ve ever had.)
Got your favorites? Feel free to post them as comments below…