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November 9, 2009

Hold your tongue


Just when you thought it was safe to start reading Dining@Large again...I'm not done with the 2010 trends yet.

Remember the restaurant consultants' No. 7?

#7 THEY LAUGHED WHEN WE SAID “TONGUE”: Last year, some bloggers said we’d gone bonkers by predicting that tongue – beef and veal – would be hot in 2009. Well … here’s the Offal Truth: For 2010, it’ll be tongue (including lamb) and oxtail along with beef and pork cheeks, chicken gizzards, tripe, and other innards and odd parts. “In a pig’s ear,” you say? That, too, along with trotters. Savvy chefs are using these odd parts to offset downsized portions of expensive steaks and chops. You interleave a few slices of strip steak with slices of smoked tongue; you top a petit filet mignon with a nugget of wine-braised beef cheek; you layer some oxtail ravioli over a half-size portion of New York strip and … bingo! … chefs create added interest and eye candy while lowering their food costs. ...

I have seen trotters and beef cheeks on menus around here, but not very often. Tongue, I don't think so. ...

Will "innards and odd parts" make it in Baltimore? I'm not sure. Liver has all but disappeared, except for pate and foie gras. I don't even see sweetbreads on menus much anymore.

Which reminds me of the time when I wrote a story on sweetbreads for the food section, and a copy editor wrote the headline "Sweetbreads -- Ain't It Gland?"

Needless to say, it was one headline that never made its way into print.

(Grilled mahi-mahi over mashed potatoes with maple candied brussels sprouts and oxtail dumplings at Kali's Court. Jed Kirschbaum/Sun photographer)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 11:30 AM | | Comments (19)


"tongue (including lamb) and oxtail along with beef and pork cheeks, chicken gizzards, tripe, and other innards and odd parts"

sounds like heaven

How appropos with other reviewer Richard recently covering El Guapito who proudly fly the tongue flag as well as Azul 17 and the new Diablita. Notice a trend?

As to other "innards and odd parts" Salt Tavern has a great open faced oxtail ravioli on the menu right now and a veal cheek dish as well. B, Bolton lists a sweetbreads dish on it's online menu but I haven't been there yet to try it.

I don't think Baltimore would support true nose to tail like Saint John's, but it seems in ethnic restaurants and in small additions to "creative" American

Orchard Market and Cafe in Towson has a couple of tongue dishes on the menu. I tried one a while back, and it was very tender and delicious. But I suspect ethnic food is not necessarily in the spirit of the trend.

Yes, good point. I think from their examples they aren't thinking of ethnic restaurants. EL

I appreciate that other people want to eat offal. But it ain't gonna be me.

Well, chitterlings have been around for a while. When I figured out what they were, I politely passed, but I still see buckets of them at the grocery store. So really, the whole innards idea doesn't seem too far fetched to me...

I grew up with chopped liver and kishka, and tongue. Not weird to me at all. But it should be served correctly.

I had a cubed tongue taco at a Latino place recently that totally had bad breath!

Grace Garden has a Sczehuan tongue, tripe, and tendon on the menu and it's amazing (like most things that come out of GG's kitchen). Plus, you get all your "odd parts" in one cold dish.

What's the difference between pork cheeks and pork butt?

Tongue is very common in latin (Mexican) cuisine, so Im not really sure that these suits proclaiming trends have anything to do with Sinaloa and El Guapito having lengua tacos on their menu.


cheeks = face
butt = shoulder
ham = "butt"

Sweetbreads are on the menu both at Petit Louis and Brewer's Art, Im sure there are more out there.

I've never seen offal as an all or nothing. I think there is a range of comfortability with more mild items, such as oxtail,cheeks and sweetbreads on one end and the uber-gamey organs of heart, kidneys, lungs and liver at the other end.

Eve, bahahahahahaha!

Tongue is on the menu at many Korean BBQ places. Ask for some soy sauce, sugar, and lemon to make a dipping sauce for your grilled tongue slices. Fantastic eating.

Always have to pass along the story about two fellows ordering at the local deli..
The first guy orders a tongue sandwich and his friend says
"how can you eat something that comes out of an animals mouth?
He then turns to the waitress and orders a fried egg sandwich

Can anyone explain to me why I detest liver as an entree (as in liver and onions) but adore chopped liver?


My father-in-law loved head cheese.
From what I could gather, it was neither head nor cheese--but he relished it so much that I figured I was missing something good...?

Head cheese is delicious, Cleatus. Rich, tasty, nutritious. What is not to love?

If you are ever at a pig roast, ask if you can have the cheek. The pitmaster will usually keep it for yourself, but if you're the one paying for the party, definitely ask for it. Most tender piece of meat on the hog.


I think the entree versus chopped question has the most to do with the difference between calves and chicken liver.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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