On Recovering from a Meat Hangover
This has been a big week for meat in New York City. The New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni took a look at just how much pork is on the menu at Irving Mill (a lot), and asked chef Ryan Skeen “to give the pig a rest.” That was after two of the city's best restaurants hosted dinners prepared by the dean of nose-to-tail eating, Fergus Henderson of St. John in London. Sunday night was the Spotted Pig’s second annual crazy-fun, crazy-delicious FergusStock. Dishes like the pressed pig’s ears drew diners like Top Chef/restaurateur Tom Colicchio and Momofuku’s David Chang. Henderson and his sous-chef (and Spotted Pig chef) April Bloomfield went through 23 pig heads (that’s 46 servings of the pot-roasted half pig’s head) before they sold out at 10 pm.
Fergus HendersonThe following night, Monday, people were equally meat-crazed, when Henderson set up shop in the kitchen at Momofuku Noodle Bar. The testosterone level was sky high (the dining room was 75 percent male and the one reserved table held the head honchos from GQ mag). By 9 P.M., the restaurant was sold out of the deep-fried lamb brains and the roasted marrow bones; an hour later, almost everything was gone, down to the last crispy pig's tail. (Serious Eats has an amazing blow-by-blow of the dinner for anyone who’s getting hungry.)
I’m not going to do the whole-animal math here (especially because I'm still waiting on pig tail numbers from Momofuku), but that’s a lot of pork. Now that Henderson has left town, I’m going to follow Bruni’s advice and give the pig (and cow, and rabbit and lamb) a rest. Which means for me, just the sheep’s milk ricotta gnudi at the Pig, the pickle jar at Noodle Bar and the kampachi crudo at Irving Mill. Oh wait, that has chorizo on it.