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Forget Tenderloin and Chicken Breast: These Are NYC’s Tastiest Alternate Proteins

tumblr_lzwqsz24261qc4t16The average restaurant diner’s palate has really evolved and expanded over the years, meaning that chefs feel emboldened to branch out beyond pork chops, chicken breast and steak.  So if you’re looking to chow down on some other white (or red) meats, check out the alternate and awesome proteins at spots like Le Coucou, Aska and more!  Unlike Kellyanne Conway’s “alternative facts,” these proteins are legitimately awesome dishes based entirely in reality.

Le Coucou

Le Coucou
138 Lafayette St
Little Italy,New York 10013
(212) 271-4252

Offal is commonplace in classic French cookery, which is why you’ll find it all over the menu at the highly traditional fine dining mecca, Le Coucou.  Look for Veal Terrine, Veal Tongue and Sweetbreads, lapped in tarragon-spiked crème de tomate, as well as Grilled Squab with “squab bits,” Duck, mission figs and foie gras, and Daniel Rose’s celebrated Tout de Lapin.  Translated to “All of the Rabbit,” the three-part dish features braised legs, liver-stuffed saddle, and belly broth.

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Aska

Aska
47 S 5th St
Williamsburg,New York 11249
(929) 337-6792

Though a large majority of Aska’s 19 courses center on seafood, Fredrik Berselius hasn’t lost his affinity for meat.  The Scandinavian restaurant’s original iteration became known for rust-colored crackers, and blood (yes, really!) pops up not once — but twice — on the contemporary menu.  We’re talking a tiny pig’s blood pancake enforced with cherries and rose hips, and a parting truffle, underscored with chocolate and lavender.

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Italienne

Italienne
19 W 24th St
Flatiron District,New York 10010
(212) 600-5139

Jared Sippel’s Flatiron restaurant is equally inspired by Northern Italy and Southern France; each with a deeply-rooted affinity for off-cuts.  There’s a sizable charcuterie selection in the relaxed taverna (such as lardo, speck, mortadella and bresaola), along with rustic bites like pork fritters, pork ribs, braised pork pizza and “Electric Goat” (enlivened with chilis, tomatoes and chevre).  And challenging meat choices continue in the refined dining room, with Foie Gras Torchon, Sweetbread Fettuccini, Duck with tarbais beans and Bigoli; a hearty rabbit stew stocked with lentils and swiss chard.

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White Gold

White Gold
375 Amsterdam Ave
Upper West Side,New York 10024
(212) 362-8731

April Bloomfield has always been the queen of meat, so it was only a matter of time before she opened the butcher shop to end all butcher shops.  Don’t know what to do with oxtail, marrow bones, trotters, ears, bones, necks and hearts?  Leave the preparation to the pros by paying a visit to the adjunct restaurant, for Radishes dipped in marrow butter, Chicken Liver Mousse, Smoked Chicken Dirty Rice, Beef Hearts with dukka spice, and Bone Broth stippled with taleggio cheese, kabocha squash and pumpkin seed oil.

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Otway

Otway
930 Fulton St
Clinton Hill,New York 11238
(917) 909-1889

Chef Claire Welle doesn’t shy away from innards at this dinner-only reincarnation at Tilda All Day.  Current starters include Fried Tripe and Veal Heart Skewers, rubbed with black garlic and cilantro, and kidneys, torchon, and crackers smeared in pine-infused lardo (fatback) have made appearances as well.  She also generally favors off-cuts when it comes to usual suspects like pork — instead of tenderloin, you’ll find supple rounds of neck, laid over wheat berries, charred rutabaga and sauerkraut.

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Miss Lily’s

Miss Lily’s
132 W Houston St
Greenwich Village,New York 10012
(646) 588-5375

While oxtail sounds challenging, the beloved staple of Carribbean cuisine is not unlike short rib.  And at the always popping fashionista hub, Miss Lily’s, it’s every bit as popular as grilled fish and jerk chicken; braised into submission for a velvety stew, and thickened with gravy, broad beans, rice and peas.  Ready to take things to the next level?  Go for Jamaica’s other favorite protein, goat; removed of all bones and deposited in a curried potage, mopped up with roti and potatoes.

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MaLa Project

MaLa Project
122 1st Avenue
East Village,New York 10009
(212) 353-8880

MaLa’s brothless hot pot concept allows you to choose your own add-ins from a 70-strong item list.  And while you can certainly play it safe with chicken breast, mushrooms, short rib and fish, adventurous eaters will have a ball (perhaps a roe-filled fish ball?) with spam, tripe, kidney, artery, intestine, gizzard and duck feet!

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Delaware & Hudson

Delaware & Hudson
135 N 5th St
Brooklyn,New York 11249
(718) 218-8191

This Williamsburg eatery draws unique inspiration from America’s Mid-Atlantic states — a la, Baltimore to Buffalo — resulting in oily Bluefish Pate, Chopped Liver, Pickled Herring, Veal Schnitzel, Corned Beef Hash, and a “Full Pennsylvanian Breakfast;” eggs, sausage and apples with a side of the pork trimming mush called scrapple.

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