Filed under: Dining
It isn't a typical amuse-bouche in this university town, or in most other High Street neighborhoods in the U.S. But as chefs like Johns, San Francisco's Chris Cosentino (whose next Nose-to-Tail dinner is March 24 at Incanto in San Francisco), Cleveland's Michael Symon and Boston's Tony Maws do more to popularize the eating of heirloom pork, a by-product of the trend is the advancement of sensible, and at times fanciful, offal eating.
On this particular night some 27 diners descended on Johns' restaurant, having booked in advance to dine on the Tamworth pig he had selected months earlier at Back Forty Acres in nearby Chelsea, MI.They followed the plates of confit of pig heart to a table where it took its place of honor next to a platter of crispy pork skins and a dish of chili vinegar for dipping.
It was for good reason that Grange's 7-course dinner required advance booking and a bit of special promotion among the restaurant's Facebook fans. A menu that features pork liver torchon,"Extremities salad," and bacon ice cream with a slice of bacon dipped in chocolate requires a certain kind of foodie to commit for $60 per head, and $90 with matching wines.
Johns kept the brains, cheeks and some of the other tasty bits on the sidelines for special guests. Rounding out the menu, though, was crispy belly confit, Grange-made Hunter sausage (spiced with mustard seed, ginger and coriander and smoked over applewood).There was Bo Saam (think Asian burrito) roasted shoulder, roasted without liquid, wrapped in a lettuce leaf along with raw oysters, kimchee and/or a condiment of sherry vinegar, bean paste and chilis. An Asian burrito with perfectly roseted pork and raw oysters makes anyone feel kingly. The final dish was pork loin, peppered with domestic black truffle and served over a white bean puree with a side of glazed carrots that tasted as if they were pulled from a July garden rather than a February larder.
Anticipation ran high for the dessert: a scoop of bacon infused ice cream,