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Eat This Tonight: Lamb chops, shanks, and loins

There's something about spring lamb at Easter time

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Easter is almost here, and that's got us thinking about spring lamb. New York Times' writer Mark Bittman calls lamb our most underappreciated meat, and we think it's high time we all start appreciating it. You won't see it on a ton of menus, but if you do, make a point of ordering it. You won't be sorry.

You're sure to encounter lamb at restaurants that specialize in Mediterranean fare. Chef John Ondo at Lana Restaurant has two lamb dishes on his menu. Kefta is made from ground lamb marinated with onions, cilantro, and cumin. The lamb is then shaped into a sausage, skewered, and served with tomatoes, cucumbers, tabouleh salad, and tzatziki. Chef Ondo also serves lamb spanakopita, an appetizer that has been so popular that it has been on the menu since the restaurant opened six years ago. The dish is ground lamb, spinach, goat and feta cheese, wrapped in phyllo dough and served with tzatziki and a tomato-mint relish. "It's pretty fucking great," says Chef Ondo. So there, now you have to try it.

Over at Cypress, Chef Craig Deihl gets his lamb loins from Border Springs in Virginia. The meat is grilled on the restaurant's hickory grill and served with a seasonal pile of roasted baby beets, collard greens, and prune purée.

High Cotton has two lamb dishes on the menu this weekend. The lamb ragout appetizer takes ground leg of lamb and serves it with potato gnocchi, grape tomatoes, olives, and preserved lemons. If you're in the mood for a big old chop, the domestic lamb porterhouse is featured on the steak menu. The dish includes two 10 oz. pieces of lamb with a side of their choice. Be sure to try these dishes before they go away for the season. The menu will be changed next week.

You can find some lamb dishes on the regular menu at French restaurants like La Fourchette and Fat Hen. The lamb entrées at La Fourchette include a grilled lamb sausage (merguez) served with couscous and raisins. They also have grilled lamb chops with rosemary au jus potatoes, garlic, Gruyere and cream au gratin, and haricot verts. Out on Johns Island, The Fat Hen serves a legendary lamb shank that is slowly braised and served over a white bean ragout with roasted local root veggies and smoked fig compote.

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