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Most interesting restaurants for carnivores


My daughter is treating for my birthday. How lovely! No expense spared. Lovelier still!! We are both confirmed carnivores and I am wondering what there might be around town a little more off the beaten path than the usual big time steakhouses. (Not that there's anything wrong with that. We've partaken; we've enjoyed.)

I'm thinking about things like fabulous charcuterie (Bar Boulud?), the most original foie gras thing-y you ever had, bone marrow preparations, pork dishes up the wazoo, boudin noir, suculent duck confit, but all of this, or more than one dish to tickle a carnivore's fancy anyway, in one place. If we were in Montreal it might be Au Pied De Cochon, say, or in London, St. John, maybe. You get the idea.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. check out cannibal and resto (ive only eaten at the former, the latter has more space). meat heavy menus and really tasty.

    1. maybe Minetta tavern?

      1. DBGB and Blaue Gans for sausages.

        Pig & Khao for sizzling sisig, grilled pork jowl, pork adobo, crispy pata, longonissa.

        1. The bo ssam at Ssam Bar since you can't get the beef 7 ways anymore

          3 Replies
          1. re: Bkeats

            The bo ssäm is pork (or pork shoulder) and not beef, right?

            But in any event, good rec.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Yes, pork shoulder, but a huge amount of food for two people.

              1. re: kathryn

                Last time we were there, my friends took the leftover pork home to make pulled pork sandwiches. Also good in fried rice.

                But, yeah, it's a large amount of food, even for (say) a party of 6-8.

          2. Takashi or the Breslin, if you don't mind a wait.

            If you can get a big group together, do the suckling pig meal at the Breslin.

            Here's a list of who serves what offal in NYC, from 2011. So it's not 100% up to date but can give you an idea of what places you might want to go to. Try Mario Batali, David Chang, and April Bloomfield restaurants, for sure.

            Keep Per Se, Picholine & Daniel in mind when it's game season in the fall/winter.

            Also look at Public for unusual meats.


            Spotted Pig - crispy pig's ear salad, bone marrow

            The Breslin - headcheese, pig's foot, you can also do the one of the chef's table feasts that will include offal. Like for the suckling pig dinner, they bring you the ears, eyes, snout, brain, tongue, and jowl. For the lamb dinner, you get grilled liver, kidney, heart.

            Hakata Tonton - pig's feet in multiple dishes

            Momofuku Noodle Bar - pig's tails

            Craft - pork trotter, sweetbreads

            Bar Boulud (and DBGB) - head cheese terrine, pigeon/venison/wild boar terrine, beef cheek, lamb
            terrine, snails, boudin noir, and boudin blanc

            Casa Mono - sweetbreads, foie gras, duck egg with mojama, bone marrow, tripe with blood sausage, confit goat

            Babbo - lamb's tongue, tripe, goose liver ravioli, lamb's brains ravioli, beef cheek ravioli, sweetbreads, duck, rabbit

            Manzo - sweetbreads, brains, tongue, pig's tail

            Txikito - foie gras, veal jowl terrine, blood sausage, beef tongue, trotters/tripe/tendon

            Fatty Cue WV -- deep fried 1/2 rabbit

            Picholine - IIRC they have a game tasting menu that happens every fall/winter

            Yakitori Totto - chicken liver, chicken gizzard, chicken heart, chicken knee, chicken neck, chicken tail, chicken oyster ("rare part of chicken thigh"


            Blue Ribbon Brasserie - escargot, sweetbreads, pigeon, bone marrow

            Prune - snails, tripe, bone marrow, sweetbreads, they also are known for their monkfish liver, but I don't think it's currently on the menu

            Kabab Cafe in Queens (one of my favorite places ever) - testicles (on occasion), beef cheek, lamb's brains, duck liver, etc.

            Xian Famous Foods - "lamb's face" cold salad

            Chez Napoleon (old school French restaurant) - kidney, calf's brains, rabbit, quail, frogs legs, sweetbreads

            Despana (a spanish grocery store) - carries a lot of great products like jamon iberico, blood sausage, preserved fish roe, various forms of seafood in tins preserved in oil/sauce, and they often give out free samples.

            2 Replies
            1. re: kathryn

              I wasn't going to comment because kathryn said it all. But Despana is a definite, that top level Jamon Iberico is absolutely amazing.' I second Takashi for the different cow stomachs,
              I'll throw in Rockmeisha for pigs feet and frog.
              Maharlika for sizzling sizig and balout.
              Salvation for pig ears
              Osteria Morini for Charcuterie.
              Paradou for foie gras tasting

              1. re: kathryn

                Momofuku Ssam Bar currently has grilled duck hearts on the menu, served with whipped ricotta, strawberries, and celery. A very unusual but delicious dish. The hearts themselves were extraordinarily tender. With the whipped ricotta and strawberries, it felt almost like I was eating dessert, but then the herby nature of the celery kicked in. Definitely worth a try for adventurous eaters.

              2. Lots of good recommendations above. I was going to suggest Cannibal, too, though if you're looking for a "no expense spared" place I'm not sure it fits the bill - it's more informal, though it's a great place for a beer (or brunch) and meat. Definitely worth a stop at some point.

                I'd toss Il Buco Alimentari into the mix. As far as meat goes, they've got great charcuterie (iirc, the Times review ranked it among the best in the city) and the monstrous rib dish is one of the biggest hunks of meat I've had in the last year, and I really enjoyed it.

                5 Replies
                1. re: arturusthorne

                  No expense spared doesnt mean you have to break the bank, just that you can ;-)

                  1. re: gavspen

                    Very true - and I definitely didn't mean to put Carnivore down, since I'm a big fan (and my wife, who's from the south and a discerning biscuits and gravy fan, ranks theirs among the best in the city, while I love their Cuban sandwich). I'm in the mindset of thinking of it as a brunch place since we live nearby and it's a nice place for a weekend brunch in the garden out back but definitely a good all-around option for meat lovers!

                    1. re: arturusthorne

                      Carnivore = Cannibal? Just checking.

                      So far I have to admit, it's leading the pack....what a menu!

                      1. re: gavspen

                        The Cannibal is more of a bar than a restaurant. It gets very loud and crowded after work. They don't take reservations except for large groups. It's connected to Resto next door.

                        1. re: gavspen

                          Yes, Carnivore = Cannibal by an incorrect name. Between your original post and the news about the NSA surveillance (bringing to mind the Carnivore internet snooping program from the Bush years), I had Carnivore on the mind but meant Cannibal. I do agree with Kathryn below - set-up is more like a bar (one long bar for sitting at, tables out in the covered garden behind. I haven't been after work but could see it getting crowded, which is another reason we like to get there early for brunch when it's quiet and we can sit.

                  2. Wow! Thanks all.

                    The menu at Cannibal looks great; as pointed out, the website says the bo ssam is for 6-8...possibly overkill ;-); dont think we can wait for game season; Public also looks good, more for the appetizers; the Chef's table at the Breslin is also for a large party...too bad; Casa Mono, Manzo, Tzikito all look great....much sifting to do :-)

                    And Kathryn, really, an embarrassment of riches, thank you.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: gavspen

                      Do birthday brunch at Public, too, for your celebratory day -- blood pudding waffles with foie gras butter!

                      1. re: kathryn

                        I dont see that on the menu Kathryn...Am I being dense? But my God! it sounds good!

                    2. Check out Buenos Aires in ev. Extensive line of mets here. As an added bonus, always a soccer match on :-)

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: rottyguy

                        That's a great menu. How would you compare the quality of the grilled steaks with that of the big time steakhouses around town?

                        1. re: gavspen

                          Not remotely close. (But much cheaper.)

                          1. re: gavspen

                            They're not bad but definitely not top steaks. I did really like their hanger steak and consider it one of the best I've had if you're in the mood for that cut. My irish buddy really liked their sweet bread.

                            1. re: rottyguy

                              Thanks Gentlemen.... a lot to consider...

                        2. About Takashi, a lot of those items on the "Grilled" menu are quite inexpensive. Would you consider them full plates, or is the thing to do to order several? Even the steaks are pretty cheap. Similar quality to Buenos Aires then?

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: gavspen

                            I just read a thread on Takashi and I'm a bit confused by all this "...just make sure you cook them long enough", and "they will tell you "X seconds per side" stuff.

                            How does it work? The website says, "grilled right at your table", but by you, or them?

                            1. re: gavspen

                              Grilled by you, and I found most of the cuts very disappointing.

                              1. re: Wilfrid

                                Plus you and your clothes will smell like beef fat for the rest of the night... I found Takashi underwhelming.

                                1. re: linguafood

                                  Obviously some offal is fine on the grill - liver, sweetbreads - but I would have thought some of that other stuff - heart, tongue, all those various stomachs - would need to be braised forever to get tender, like tripe and chitterlings. Not so?

                                  1. re: gavspen

                                    Some of the stomachs are chewy, yes. IIRC there is a marinade and they score them. The tongue is sliced very thinly and is delicious. The waitstaff are knowledgeable about the various cuts and can help you order.

                                  2. re: linguafood

                                    My sis, my husband and I had korean bbq and on the way back home in the car, my sis complained that her hair and clothes smell like bbq...my husband goes, you are so lucky. I wish i could smell like delicious bbq all the time. apparently some people like to smell like bbq. ha.

                              2. re: gavspen

                                You need to order several. You mostly grill them yourself on their electric tabletop grills, with a custom, fancy ventilation system. There are some on the specials list where the staff will grill them for you, though, such as the mega spare rib or the Kobe Marbled Chuck-flat Steak. Love the short rib, belly, and cheek, and nearly always add on the yooke (tartare).

                                From their site:
                                "We spent months hand-picking where each cut of beef would come from, settling for nothing but the tastiest meat from sustainably-raised cattle with no antibiotics or hormones. We proudly feature beef from local New York state farms courtesy of Dickson's Farmstand in Chelsea Market, from Kansas' Creekstone Farm courtesy of Pat Lafrieda, and Oregon's Washugyu cows courtesy of Japanese Premium Beef."

                                See also:

                                1. re: kathryn

                                  im another person who was disappointed by my meal at takashi. i wanted to love the place but i found it to be akin to korean bbq for 3x the price. the specialty offal cuts weren't very special at all.

                                  minus the bar seating, the cannibal would be nice.