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Oct 19, 2007 08:38 AM

Looking for OFFAL in Boston?

Just had a craving for good tripe. Any recommendations? Or good sweetbreads =)

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  1. Green Street has offal on its menu. Pete, the chef, changes it frequently so I can't tell you what it is right now but it is a very popular item on the menu. Give them a call to find out what it is right now.

    1 Reply
    1. re: lennyb

      wow ultra fast reply =)

      I'll check it out thanks.

    2. Offal is everywhere now.

      Tripe is usually on the menu at Petit Robert in a stew, but I haven't been lately.

      I've been quite happy with the offal at Green St as well. Had a very nice lambs belly at Eastern Standard last night.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sailormouth

        i know ES had a good offal plate back when chef Bissonette was there, haven't been back since. Maybe it's time for a revisit.

      2. Hmm, where do I get my fix for variety meats?

        KO Prime, where Bisonnette, who put offal on the Eastern Standard menu, now chefs: many different bits, like crispy pig ear (which I also saw on Green Street's menu recently). Sweetbread done like chicken nuggets.

        Tripe at Trattoria Toscana (not always on the menu), many other North End Italians.

        Beef tongue in sauce at El Oriental de Cuba (which I haven't tried); beef tongue tacos at many taquerias, notably Tacos Lupita.

        Pupusas with chicharrones at Pupusa La Guanaca.

        Pork skin (bi) banh mi at Pho Viet in the Allston Super 88 food court. Pate and head cheese banh mi at many places.

        Beef cheek tacos at Taqueria El Amigo in Waltham, my favorite dish there.

        Various animal bits on the charcuterie and salumi plates at The Butcher Shop, Toro, Taberna de Haro, Bin 26.

        Mondongo (Puerto Rican tripe soup) and stewed oxtail at Izzy's near Kendall Square, Cambridge.

        Pan-sauteed chicken livers at the Franklin Cafe.

        Chopped chicken liver at Rubin's Kosher Deli in Brookline.

        Tripe and sweetbreads and occasionally brains at many of the traditional French places: Petit Robert, Pierrot, Troquet, Gaslight, etc.

        Paya (cow or calves' foot) on the weekend Pakistani specials menu at Grain and Salt in Allston. Haven't tried that one myself yet.

        Chicken hearts done rodizio style at the Midwest Grill in East Cambridge (Brazilian charrascaria).

        Oxtail stew at Cafe Miami in the South End.

        There have to be some Mexican places that do menudo, but I can't think of any.

        Chitlins at Bob's Southern Bistro in the South End; intestine dishes in many Taiwanese and Korean restaurants. Can't say I've tried many of these.

        The amazing frankfurters at Speed's Famous Hot Dog Wagon in Newmarket Square.

        Chinatown -- too many to mention; I imagine more literate Hounds can comment here.

        I saw some offal (oxtail?) as sides or accompaniments on the menu at Boston Public, but I have yet to try them.

        8 Replies
          1. re: MC Slim JB


            So do you have a list somewhere or do you just remember everything?

            1. re: MC Slim JB

              Interesting that you didn't mention the "Offal Queen," Lydia Shire. She pioneered the acceptance of Offal in modern Boston eateries, and I'm sure she's got some on the menu at Locke Ober....

              1. re: ChefJune

                Leaving out Lydia is a terrible oversight on my part: the first time I tried sweetbreads was at Biba, also Maine lobster tomalley as a condiment (smeared on crostini, as I recall). She does deserve credit for smacking Bostonians on the head with "parts", even labeled a section of Biba's menu "Offal". That place was a favorite of mine in its heyday, in no small part because of that. I fondly remember a simple dish of linguine there with almost no sauce except melted fatback.

                I also didn't mention foie gras once, the ultimate innard. Shire has that and calves' liver (another organ meat I like) on the current Locke-Ober menu. Foie is so commonplace now, it's almost hard to remember a time when it was a big ooh-aah dish.

                Do cod cheeks count? I think I had those for the first time at Providence Restaurant in Brookline, lightly batter-fried.

                I'm pretty sure I've had prairie oysters somewhere in town, too, can't recall where. The Cajun House (currently Magnolia's), maybe? A steak and kidney pie long ago at Matt Murphy's, and black pudding on their Sunday Irish breakfast. Brains in a cream sauce as a tapa at Dali. Don't think I've ever had haggis in Boston.

                Thanks to Bis, it seems like head cheese is on a lot of menus now: ESK, KO Prime, The Butcher Shop, Petit Robert.

                I think roasted marrow absolutely counts: I do like ESK's version. They weren't the first, though: can't recall on whose menu I first saw that in Boston.

                I suppose you could go on and on with sausages: I believe one of the big Portuguese sausages (liguica, maybe?) and andouille are both very heavy on tripe. Lots of parts by definition, I suppose.

                Most of these I just recall from memory; it helps that I've written a bunch of them up in various Weekly Dig neighborhood restaurant roundups. I had to look up a couple of dishes, though: "mondongo" and "paya" didn't want to pop back to mind.

                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  I just had my first taste of lamb head cheese at ESK a couple of weeks ago. It was pretty good. I'd probably like it more if it had a better name. :-)

              2. re: MC Slim JB

                Sweetbreads at No.9 Park are also delicious. And if marrow counts (and in my book it does) then try dem bones at Eastern Standard Kitchen. Similar prep to St. John in London with the sea salt and parsley salad. I haven't gotten marrow bones at KOPrime yet, but that's on the list.

                1. re: yumyum

                  KO Prime does a great version of bone marrow...worth a visit.

                  1. re: yumyum

                    I also had a great sweetbread app at Olive's during Restaurant Week. Better than the KO Prime version.

                2. Adding to the great list on this thread, some of the ones I like:

                  Mondongo at El Jardin, a really good Colombian restaurant/bakery in East Boston. Wash down with some lulo juice (a Colombian tropical fruit). Tripe is pretty common at the Colombian places in East Boston, often served from steam table formats, the ones at Sultana looked really good a couple of weeks ago, but I already had a date with the chicken mole at Angela's.

                  The trippa a la fiorentina at Trattoria Toscana is very good; but be sure to also try the chicken liver crostini. I remember a pretty good bowl of tripe at Piccolo Venezia in the North End.

                  I'd recommend doing a search for menudo; I know Tacqueria Jaslico serves it on weekends, but haven't had a chance to try it yet.

                  One of the better versions of lengua/tongue taco can be found at Taqueria Mexico; the Coolidge Corner branch is good. Lengua is very common, virtually all tacquerias should have it. If you consider beef cheeks offal, try the cabeza taco at El Rancho Grande in East Boston; good salsas too.

                  Yet to find a good version of duck's tongue, but if you want to try, HK Eatery has it in black bean sauce; it's decent. We had some kidney with jellyfish at Potluck Cafe in Chinatown a one of the dinners there; it was pretty good, but in ideal versions, both would be equally crunchy in their own way for the perfect textural resonance. Unfortunately, the last time I had good tripe in a Chinese place was at Rice Garden. Stomach and beef (fu1 ci1 fei4 pian4) is a in a spicy sauce is a classic Sichuan appetizer. I'd check out the version at Sichuan Gourmet in Framingham.

                  The paya at Salt and Grain is very good, mostly tendon and made me miss some of the Cantonese style braised beef tendon. For more knuckle action, try the feijoada at Cafe Brazil on weekends. For fatty pig's foot (zou3 you2 yuan2 ti2), braised and flavoured with some star anise, try Shanghai Gate. Bun Bo Hue, a Hue style spicy soup noodle, includes nice chunks of pig's foot; pretty decent at Xinh Xinh. I haven't seen the French version, pied de cochon, very often at local French restaurants (nor rognon de veau/veal kidneys for that matter).

                  I remember liking the coracon de galinha (grilled chicken hearts) at Oliveiria's in East Boston, as well as Gaucho in East Somerville, but it's been a while.

                  Morcilla/blood sausage at the Neighbourhood restaurant.

                  Would love to hear about the anticuchos/beef hearts at some of the local Peruvian places. I know Victor's has it, can't remember if Betos does too.

                  1. Thanks especially to Slim and Limster for your comprehensive suggestions. I grew up eating in Chinatown so I'm no stranger to the 5th quarter =)

                    I ended up heading to Petit Robert tonight, not sure that the review belongs in this thread so I'm starting a new topic?

                    Thanks to everyone for your replies and happy dining!