HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


"Variety meats": dining on brains, intestines, and hearts in L.A.

Does anyone know of any upscale or other unlikey restaurants that are serving so-called variety meats in Los Angeles? I know I could find all the offal I'm looking for in a good bowl of pho or menudo, but I'm wondering if anyone knows of it being served anyplace more, uh, Anglo. There's an Italian place in SF with an "offal tasting menu."

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Take a look through Eddie Lin's "Deep End Dining" blog archives, for people eating guts, blood, bugs, fugu, snakes on a plate (or should that be "Snakes On a Plate!"? )tentacles that resist being eaten, etc.

    I recall an entire post about various places, some European, others not, serving dishes based on blood...


    1. They frequently have sweetbreads on the menu at Campanille.

      3 Replies
      1. re: deadorinjail

        Musso and Frank's has a lot of "old-fashioned" things, which in places like Europe aren't out of fashion at all, and they serve up an entire platter of sweetbreads. Not the best I've had in my life, but then at MF's you don't expect that, but I did appreciate the waiter telling me they sauce them I think in tomato sauce, and he would do capers and lemon sauce for me instead (which I preferred). It was a lot of sweetbreads!

        1. re: George

          I'm rarely one to cast stones. However, when we first started to do MF as our regular spot before the Pantages I got so jazzed about the sweetbreads on the menu. Over 5-6 years I've tried them and they really disappoient. You're right, a GENEROUS portion of sweetbreads, but almost always way overcooked and they didn't clean the membranes and tubes correctly. Over the years this has not been a succesfull dish for us but the menu decsription is really enticing.

          1. re: TomSwift

            Mom-in-law always gets the sweetbreads when we dine at La Vie in Rosemead. Nice little joint: classic old-school French cooking from a Vietnamese chef in informal surroundings. Not expensive, either.

            That said, I wish he'd offer tripes as well, but no such luck.

      2. Dude, I've found a kindred spirit on this thing.

        That's one of my life goals, to eat every part of every animal possible. It only seems responsible to me.

        There are a few South American places that do sweetbreads in a nice crunchy on the outside pillowy on the inside way.

        But, as far as more European is concerned....hmmm. Not too many here.

        Last week I was in NY and went to Babbo and had the best meal of my life. We had lamb tongue vinaigrette, tripe alla parmigiana, beef cheek ravioli, and fennel dusted sweetbreads.

        I'm a variety meat enthusiast.

        4 Replies
        1. re: therealbigtasty

          Didn't Angelini's used to serve a tongue (veal?) vinaigrette? Last time I was there, I didn't see it anymore. The livers with stringbeans are out of control good though. They definitely had multiple ways of serving liver, multiple kinds of liver (chicken, veal, etc.) too. I think they do coda alla vaccinara too as a special, ie tail. I haven't had it yet though. One of my truly favorite Italian dishes.

          Edit addition: Oh yeah, I just remembered, Angelini's has one of the best tripe dishes I've ever tasted.

          1. re: therealbigtasty

            ah ah beefcheek ravioli. last time i was there i ordered 2 courses as appetizers and 2 after the panna cotta dessert.

            we had so many courses that the people next to us paid for about 10 of them (the ones after dessert), marveling at how my friend and i enjoyed that meal.

            too bad there are 5 hours of flying between here and there

            1. re: epop

              Isn't the beefcheek ravioli INCREDIBLE???

              It's totally worth the flight.

              I can't even describe it.

            2. re: therealbigtasty

              Wow! That's a noble goal! I've been just eating animal parts in no systematic order but I like this idea of eating parts to make a whole. Hmmmm, you are giving me an idea for my next dinner party....pick an animal, each course is a particular part (offal or not) served in a different way.

              1. Angelini Osteria has a loooooooovely tripe dish!

                1 Reply
                1. re: LT from LF

                  All right, so I'm going to have to save up again...

                  I'm loving me some organs!

                2. Try french chef Laurent Quenioux's cooking at Bistro K in Pasadena.
                  I've enjoyed a delicious sauteed sweetbread dish and sliced tongue salad.
                  I'm looking forward to trying the cassoulet of duck hearts that j. gold mentioned in his article once the weather cools down.

                  1. Thank you all. This is some great stuff to go on.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jake

                      canary in westwood is a simple place with hearts, livers, testicles, head stew... i tried the liver but
                      wasn't crazy about their preparation.

                    2. Also, if you'd like to try duck tongue, I'd highly recommend the tasty fried ones at Indian (a tawainese pub) in San Gabriel.

                      633 San Gabriel Blvd (corner spot in a strip mall)
                      San Gabriel, CA
                      (626) 287-0688

                      1. there's also duck tongues, on the just now, j gold heralded Macau Street in Monterey Park.

                        1. I think kate matalini's serves eggs with brains.

                          any peruvian place has anticuchos, hearts. also I think mimosa and pastis on occasion have cervelles (cervaux? who remembers).

                          1. I can't recall the name of the restaurant, but it is a Korean BBQ place on 6th (north side of the street) half a block west of Western. They have a lunch and a dinner special (A, B or C) and this includes the usual KBBQ fare, but the second serving is when they bring the goodies. You get stomach, intestines and others. Price is about $15 a person. I live 2 blocks from there and lunch time is the best time to visit. At night, it is madness. By the way, you grill your own meat in this joint so bring clothes you don't mind getting all "smoked" up. Enjoy

                            1. I can't say that I'm a 'variety meats' fanatic, although i won't turn away from a highly recommended dish - but, the august 2006 Gourmet magazine had a literary supplement which included the article "Searching for the Innard Truth" by Robert Sietsema.

                              - "Eating nose to tail nothing new for the Organ Meat Society. Obsessed with dining from the inside out, they prowl the backstreets of new york, searching out their favorite delectable parts."

                              It is also accompanied by a fantastically ugly/beautiful photograph by Hans Gissinger. In the article, Sietsema describes a meal prepared exclusively for the Organ Meat Society (nyc) presided over by Batali himself, which included the beef cheek ravioli. (I had, what could be one of the most memorable meals of my life so far, there myself and will have to remember the raviolis for the next visit!)

                              Anyway, your thread reminded me of the article - there seems to be many of you out there, out here - maybe an Organ meat society LA is for you! It's a great little article, and though it didn't quite give me the chops for lamb testicles or egg - brain stir fry, I can certainly appreciate the appetite and cheer you all on anyway. Happy eating!

                              1. Mimosa has andouilette. That'll do ya.

                                1. Intestines, liver, kidney, and blood cubes are common in just about every chinese joint in the SGV (San Gabriel Valley). Never saw a place with brains, though.