Chicken is by far America’s most popular protein and becoming trendier every day. And, of course, from Bacon to Belly, nothing is hipper than Pork. But with the Easter holiday upon us, and the weather just beginning to warm, the meat du jour is Lamb.
There’s nothing more iconic than a Leg of Lamb as the centerpiece of an Easter table, or a surer sign of Spring than seeing juicy loins and chops appear on restaurants menus throughout the city. The Lamb Dinner for Two at Dovetail is a particularly delicious homage to the season, along with the Sicilian Lamb Sugo at Elizabeth Falkner’s new pizza joint, Krescendo, and the Indian-inspired lamb chops at Junoon.
Looking for other ways to get a taste of Lamb, both during the holiday season and beyond? Here are the Lamb Dishes we’re loving this Spring…
Dovetail's Lamb for Two
There’s always something exciting going on at Dovetail, John Fraser’s elegant, Upper West Side restaurant. From the Veggie Prix Fixe on Mondays to Family-Style Weekend Brunches, Sunday Suppers, and Tasting Menus every day of the week, it’s hardly ever business as usual. The arrival of Spring is even more of a reason to celebrate, so greet the season with Fraser’s Australian Lamb for Two. It’s served with Greenmarket Fingerling Potatoes, Homemade Yogurt, and our favorite warm weather vegetable, Asparagus. Sounds like a reservation for Easter dinner is in order!
Krescendo's Sicilian Lamb Sugo
Opening a casual pizza parlor in Brooklyn was an unusual move for Elizabeth Falkner, celebrity chef and former owner of Citizen Cake and Orson in San Francisco. But we’re more than happy to welcome her East, especially with Pies, like the “Finocchio Flower Power,” topped with Sausage, Provolone, and Braised Fennel, a delicious alternative to the standard slice. Even better are her composed dishes, our favorite being the Sicilian Lamb Sugo, a thick ragu of Tomato and Lamb spooned over ribbons of Pappardelle — earthy, wonderfully savory, and the epitome of spring.
Xi'an Famous Foods' Lamb Face Salad
Tender morsels of meat are tossed with crunchy strips of Cucumber, Bean Sprouts and Celery, bathed in a “spicy, tingly” sauce of Cumin, Star Anise, Cinnamon, Roasted Chili Oil, Black Vinegar, and Soy. Sounds deliciously complicated, right? So just take a deep breath, close your eyes, and try not to dwell on the fact that you’re eating the face of a baby Lamb. In salad form. Yes, it’s not as easy a sell as a simple roast Loin or a Chop, but this dish is still one of the tastiest, and one of most unadulterated expressions of Lamb to be found in the entire city. Believe it!
Arthur on Smith's Lamb Pappardelle
With all of the praise heaped on its nearby, Smith Street neighbor, Battersby, its no wonder this rustic Italian restaurant has slipped under the radar. But it would be a shame to miss out on chef Joe Isidori’s thoughtful, seasonal fare, especially hand-cranked noodles like Semolina Tagliatelle with Meyer Lemon and Cream, and Bucatini with Rhode Island Squid and Preserved Tomato. We’re particularly loving the Springtime special, a House-made Spelt Pappardelle. The nutty pasta is topped with Pecorino, Fried Sage, and Spiced Lamb Sausage, which interestingly, gets its kick from Urfa Biber, a dried, Turkish pepper.
Junoon's Maseladar Lamb Chop
It’s a Lamb lovers’ paradise at Junoon, chef Vikas Khanna’s elevated Indian restaurant in the Flatiron District. You’ll find it cubed and marinated in Yogurt, minced and rolled in Garam Masala for Kebabs, cooked into a Curry with Black Cardamom and Cloves, or slow-braised for five hours in a Stew of Caramelized Onion and Star Anise. But our go-to dish this Spring is the Tandoori Marinated Maseladar Lamb Chop, served with Curry Confit Potatoes and Anardana-Brown Butter Sauce. It’s almost as eye-catching as Khanna himself, voted NY’s Hottest Chef in Eater’s 2011 poll!
The Stanton Social's Spicy Lamb Souvlakis
Chef and owner Chris Santos serves eclectic small plates at this sultry Lower East Side spot, like “Kobe Philly” Sliders, Potato and Goat Cheese Pierogies, and BBQ Duck Confit with Black Bean Empanadas. And he even manages to transform meaty, messy Lamb Souvlakis into sexy, easy-to-eat cocktail fare. They’re almost like Greek Soft Tacos, bundled four to a plate on mini, thin skinned Pitas. A spicy Harissa Aioli gives a welcome jolt to the savory Lamb Meatballs, which are further balanced by a zippy Tzatziki, and a refreshing squeeze of Lime.
Spina's Lamb Orrechiette
Fresh noodles are rolled and shaped throughout the day at the pasta bar at Spina, an unfussy Italian trattoria in the East Village. And we’re not just talking Spaghetti… there’s Squid Ink Fettuccini, Basil Malfatti, and Saffron-infused Gnocchetti, just to name a few. But now that it’s Spring, we’re really drawn to the nubby Orrechiette, or “little ears,” which Chef Joe Marcus dresses with White Wine-braised nuggets of Lamb, tender Spring Peas, Truffle Butter Sauce, and a dusting of Parmesan Cheese. Delicious!
John Brown Smokehouse's Lamb Sausage
It’s always tempting to order the usual suspects from BBQ joints, like Brisket, Ribs, or saucy Pulled Pork. And believe us, all three are fantastic at this popular Queens Smokehouse. But the locally made Lamb Sausage, a nod to Astoria’s sizeable Greek population, is a treat you just won’t find anywhere else. The juicy, not too gamey links sport a snappy skin, a moist interior, and just a kiss of smoke from John Brown’s wood-burning pit.