As Serious Eaters become increasingly concerned about the provenance and seasonality of the ingredients that we consume, for ecological and gastronomic reasons—and simultaneously become more interested in eating (figuratively and literally) the "whole hog"—I can think of no better place to indulge both impulses than the Large Format Feast at Resto.
The restaurant's website says it succinctly: Pick a whole animal. Come to Resto. Feast. Feast is what you will do, as Chef Bobby Hellen will break down a whole animal (or two or more) sourced from a local farm and compose an elaborate nose-to-tail extravaganza using vegetables from the Union Square Greenmarket. I recently spent some time in the Resto kitchen with my trusty Nikon during just such a feast, and here is what Hellen came up with.
Pigs' heads, meat lockers, and a veritable sausagefest, after the jump.
The vegetables came from Paffenroth Farm in Warwick, New York.
Both the lamb (above left) and the pig (top of page) were sourced from Violet Hill Farm in Livingston Manor, New York.
Lamb neck tacos, lamb liver crostini, pork "sliders." (Note: Not sliders.)
Tomato salad with heart confit.
Fried pork leg salad with chicory; banyuls lamb, Bibb lettuce and tomato salad with heart confit.
The meat locker.
Pork liver pate and head cheese.
Sausages: boudin blanc, boudin noir, and lamb with black pepper.
The bulk of the pig was turned in to porchetta. The inside was marinated with thyme, rosemary, parsley, basil and blended pork liver, and then slow-roasted overnight. Unlike the traditional method of spit-roasting the porchetta to achieve the crisp skin, Hellen improvised by deep frying it. Unconventional but highly effective, as the outside was supremely crisp.
Salt and pepper pork ribs.
Lamb shoulder roulade, lebne and pickled carrots, confit lamb ribs.
Beets with creme fraiche and herbs, purple potato salad with lamb liver. Wax and green beans and crudités of carrots, radish, cucumber, and pepper with tzatziki.
Resto owner Christian Pappanicholas and executive chef Bobby Hellen.
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