"Snout to tail" cooking, as it's called, has become something of a rage among American chefs in the last couple of years and New York is no exception. The only thing is that not everybody does it well. And when it's not done well, it can be unspeakably bad. Here are some restaurants whose anatomical prowess I can personally vouch for.
A small Bushwick bistro run by a couple from Vermont, a region of which for whom the place is titled. The name of the game here is whole-animal cooking, and so committed is the place that they even follow the life of the animal in question at times. If you are unnerved by this kind of intimacy, or by some of the odd parts of the beast you aren't used to seeing, this probably isn't the place for you. But serious carnivores should attend to it.
The odd name dates back to its origin as a fairly unambitious kind of Korean Chipotle, but those days are long gone. David Chang's culinary atelier has become a creative force in New York, and while not everything it serves is sure to be great, you won't find anyplace else like it. Go for the fried chicken if it's available; the "bo ssam" pork shoulder is overpriced.
A small place, a committed chef, a lot of pork and seasonal produce served with the utmost simplicity: Trestle on Tenth is a very humble restaurant, but also a very good one. It's in a remote part of town on the far west side, and isn't much to look at, but if you love good cooking and wholesome ingredients it's worth going out of the way for.
What started out as a place best known for its Belgian beers and great burger now has taken its place as one of the city's premier purveyors of whole animal cooking. Their "large format feasts" are perfect big groups of carnivores, and there's a meat bar next door called Cannibal. And of course the Belgian beers haven't gone anywhere.
A sequel to Soho's late, lamented Savoy, Back Forty represents chef Peter Hoffman's doubling down on the idea of local, sustainable cooking. Back Forty takes a southern take on the idea, with a wide smattering of tasty pork, offal, and garden vegetable treats, including some that even East Village diners aren't always ready for. (They serve pork jowl nuggets as a bar snack, for instance.) There's a garden and a great burger and plenty of bourbon for the non-adventurous.
Greek restaurants are generally homey affairs, and even when refined tend to work from the same basic taste palate, but Amali breaks the mold. The menu is largely American (with some Greek inflections) and utterly committed to small farm sourcing and nose-to-tail cooking. It's also one of the only good restaurants in a somewhat barren neighborhood and makes an ideal place to go after shopping at Bloomy's.
Korean grilling, for most non-Koreans, tends to appear mostly as little marinated pieces of steak cooked over gas grills. At Takashi, they are using gas grill -- there's nothing you can do about that -- but on the other hand the man does every imaginable part of the cow, including three different kinds of stomach. Talk about snout to tail! It's all good, too.
A collaboration between the city's most succesful and stylish new restaurateur, Gabe Stulman, and arguably the most talented young chef in town, Perla manages to be both uninhibitedly meat and also somehow romantic. It's a place you can take a girl on a date and still eat beef tongue and tripe pasta. It can be a little loud but who cares. A must-visit for New Yorkers interested in modern Italian food.