Duck Tongues at the Cookery, Voodoo Nights, Classic Cupcakes at the Ritz, and Arrosto’s Shea Gallante

The Annals of Weird Meat: Duck Tongues at The Cookery


Standing in his bustling subterranean prep kitchen at The Cookery, Chef David DiBari is a crabby small-business owner. He’s grumbling that Pat La Frieda, butcher to the stars, has failed to fulfill The Cookery’s order of veal brains. DiBari was banking on the brains for an upcoming special—now, he’ll have to substitute a protein with less menu impact. After my prodding, DiBari grudgingly admits that he’s happy with the famed butcher, but he maintains that Pat La Frieda “screwed me on my brains.” We’re talking over a pile of raw Pat La Frieda duck tongues. They’re pink and stick-like, slightly longer than two inches. There is no mistaking these tiny organs for anything other than tongues.

Lately, it feels like you can’t lift your fork without finding some weird meat on its tines: thymus glands (Tarry Tavern), sheep’s brains (Blue Hill at Stone Barns), or duck tongues at The Cookery. Personally, I’ve become a master in the use of a marrow spoon, a surgical-looking scraper designed to excavate the fatty matrix hidden inside roasted bones. Every time I use one, I feel like Jane Goodall’s tool-making chimp using a stripped-down branch to fish out ants in a tree. Though hardly representative of all the diners in Westchester, I find this expansion beyond the filet mignon box very exciting.

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The weird meat trend, a natural offshoot of ingredient-driven menus, demonstrates respect for the slaughtered animal by celebrating all of its parts. Once treasured, then considered nasty bits—thrown to pigs, poor people, and dogs—these meats made a comeback at Chef Fergus Henderson’s high-style restaurant St. John in London.

Duck tongues, along with beef tendons (also used at The Cookery), occasionally pop up on traditional Chinese menus, but DiBari is the first Italian chef I’ve seen using the tiny organs. “Well, historically, Italian food is all about using the whole animal,” says DiBari. “Duck tongues might not be common in Italy, but that philosophy still applies.”

In The Cookery’s dish, which is a pop-up special – if you’re lucky to find it – the tongues’ crisp, deep fried coating is salty and greasy (in a good way). Their golden crust yields to squishy, collagen-rich interiors; I’m reminded of deep-fried chicken skin, crisp, then lushly fatty. But if the tongues don’t sell it, they arrive piled on a bed of dairy-rich white polenta, drizzled with DiBari’s house-made orange marmalade. The last is a winking cookie joke on duck a l’orange.

DiBari’s duck tongues are as pleasing as any deep-fried bar snack I know; sadly, it’s only available when DiBari feels like it—or when Pat La Frieda screws him out of his brains. Check out this slideshow I made of the cooking process: 

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Get Over Hump Day with Wednesday Deals on Great Wine and Food

Bistro Rollin Summer Seafood Weekends and Big Red Nights – weekends all summer, Thursdays year round

Wednesdays at CHIBOUST
Chef Jill Rose and crew are slinging great deals to get you over the hump, like 50 percent off the first bottle of any wine on the list with the purchase of at least two dinner entrées. Limit one per table.


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August 18 6pm-8pm

Chiboust offers a complimentary wine-tasting on the third Wednesday of every month from 6pm to 8pm, featuring select regional varietals, both reds and whites, while supplies last.

PLATES ON THE PARK, “Your Wine Wednesdays”
Every Wednesday night Plates offers fine dining and BYOB. From the site: ”No corkage fee for bringing your own wine on Wednesday evenings. An opportunity for collectors (or anyone, really!) to uncork that special bottle in a great room with a superb meal. PLATES will decant, handle, pour and accommodate the needs of the vintage!”  That’s right, folks—you can show off your most expensive wines in public, swanking around Plates’ dining room with the priciest bottle. Or, go all iconoclastic, and tap a box propped on the edge of your table.

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VooDoo Night Wednesdays at The BAYOU
Bad week? Boss on your butt?  Head over to the Bayou for VooDoo Night Wednesdays. Fortunes are read by Angela ($20), which sounds like a great idea after $4 Abita Turbo Dogs, Amber Drafts, or Purple Hazes. Soak the brews up with $5 VooDoo Wings.

 

Crème de la Crème Cupcakes at the Ritz-Carlton, Westchester



 Step out of the street heat and into the cool lobby of the Ritz-Carlton, Westchester, where deep upholstery, tinkling music, and air conditioning are the order of the day. Our favorite ritzy indulgence is the lounge’s rich and buttery cupcakes, which arrive topped with velvety smooth frosting and seasonal flavors like sugared strawberry. Available every day in the Ritz-Carlton lobby Lounge, or call (914) 467-5820 for larger, take-home orders.

 

 

 

HotFlash 

Holy Temp! According to FloFab, Shea Gallante Is Merely “Consulting” at Port Chester’s Upcoming Arrosto!

In her New York Times piece announcing that Chef Shea Gallante signed to Manhattan’s upcoming Ciano, Flo Fab dismisses Gallante’s much-touted chef/owner position at Arrosto as mere “consulting.”  Um, yeah…I’m pretty sure that’s the first we heard of that deal.

On the Auction Block!

Sure, we all know to check out Craigslist for sly food business sales, but this site  also shows restaurants on the auction block. For instance, there’s Limoncello, which stepped into Tollgate Steakhouse’s space, available for a cool $1,599,000.

Our Best of Westchester Party is July 24!

Our Westchester Home Design Awards event is June 26!

Our Wine & Food Festival returns June 4-9!

Our Wunderkinds event takes place on May 23!

Our Best of Business Ballot is open through May 15!

Our Healthcare Heroes Awards event takes place on May 9!

Our Westchester Home Builders Awards take place on April 4!

Our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Forum is March 14!

Unveiled: A Boutique Bridal Brunch is February 25!

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