The Nose-to-Tail Newcomer (Oves dolum baabaaicus)
We’ve been living in the Time of Swine, an era where chefs have directed their culinary energies toward all things porcine. In the past decade alone, old-school bacon has evolved into de facto “seasoning,” as ubiquitous as salt and pepper. Pork belly? A menu cue designed to stage-whisper, “Order me…now.” Even the wobblier bits of an oinker’s anatomy—the liver, the cheeks, the ears—have become de rigueur. But lately, as diners have grown more comfortable with snout to tail, chefs have begun to think outside the pig.
Now, the same whole-hog mindset is getting applied to other types of fauna—most notably, lamb. At the South End’s Coppa, where even the charcuterie boards are shaped like pigs, chef de cuisine Meghann Ward prepares lamb in a multitude of ways—shoulder sausage, braised neck, seared skirt, smoked belly, roasted leg—that get dispatched into tasting platters for two. At Belly, meanwhile, chef Robert Grant turns whole lambs into four-course tasting menus. These may be the most elaborate examples of this movement at work, but they are hardly the only ones. Here, cut by cut, we drill down on a wealth of empirical evidence pointing to the sheepish mammal’s citywide domination.
Lamb loin, lamb bacon, red peppers, braised and pickled black kale, poached prunes, prune-lamb jus.
The Butcher Shop
Lamb loin, potato croquette, baby Brussels sprouts, oyster mushrooms.
Whole roasted mutton leg, belly, heart, and liver, smoked rutabaga, bean-pot onion, caramelized sheep’s milk, dulse.
Steel & Rye
Lamb-shoulder-and-rib meatballs, harissa, Greek yogurt, pine nuts, slow-cooked egg.
Slow-roasted and grilled lamb ribs, Ethiopian berbere spices (part of the Monday-night tapas menu).
Myers + Chang
Twice-cooked lamb-belly stir fry, long beans, spicy mustard, glass noodles.
Farro risotto, lamb bacon, hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, shaved cured egg yolk.
Bistro du Midi
Braised lamb neck, persillade, baby Brussels sprouts, Trumpet Royale mushrooms, goat-cheese polenta.
Grilled lamb tongue, horseradish, fried corn, chorizo oil, red-onion salad.
East by Northeast
Lamb-shoulder pot stickers, pickled carrots, roasted-garlic-and-chili sauce.
Fin to Tail
It’s hard to beat the tabletop drama of tackling a burnished, crackly-skinned, toothy-smiled pig’s head with a fork. But you haven’t tried fish until you’ve tasted the tender flesh wrangled out of its cheek cavity.
Leave it to pig’s-head pied piper Tony Maws to go fish-cheek chic at his new Somerville restaurant, The Kirkland Tap & Trotter, with a whole roasted salmon head served with red chilies and a radish salad.
In Japanese cuisine, the kama (or collar) of the fish is considered a delicacy. While it’s not uncommon to find one type at a sushi restaurant, Café Sushi has an entire kama section of the menu, and many of the fish (like red sea bream) arrive with heads still attached.
Bass-head meat gets turned into terrines at Island Creek Oyster Bar.