Calm Amidst the Chicken Liver Hysteria

I'm not sure what happens when a dish is quite literally everywhere, but I'm in the process of finding out. These days, it seems I can't walk into a Manhattan restaurant, a new one anyway, without seeing a paean to chicken livers somewhere on the menu. I'm afraid to even attempt a find-a-food search of the livers on menupages.com for fear the thousands of hits will shut down servers. So I was less than surprised to see chicken liver crostini on the menu at the just-opening Irving Mill last night. (I missed Irving Mill's official opening party the other night, which was too bad because guests apparently included investors Benjamin Bratt and Jill Hennessy and chef John Schaeffer's mentor Tom Colicchio, and the food sounded delicious, though according to Bret Thorn there wasn't much of it going around.) I didn't order it—I'm obviously suffering from chicken liver overload—but someone else at the table did, so I tried it. It was delicious: a super smooth and nicely sweet, Cognac-spiked mousse spread judiciously on nicely grilled bread with a few pieces of smoked bacon on top. It remains to be seen whether the rest of Irving Mill's food will be quite as good as that, but the whole place is so seriously faithful to the Gramercy Tavern model (the server will even tell you exactly what Greenmarket stall the cheese course's Gala apple accompaniment comes from) that you want to hope for the best. Meanwhile, on to the next chicken liver dish.

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