Table, Donkey, and Stick, for the second year has offered a 6 course Offal Dinner for Halloween. I hadn't gone to it last year, I have liked the offal that I have tried before, it fit with the holiday, and I like Table, Donkey, and Stick, so I figured that they could make an interesting dinner with the various entrails of butchered animals. Offal is simply the internal organs and entrails of a butchered animal. As we eat a wide variety of animals and the classification of offal covers a very wide range, I could see this going anywhere. Of those things that I have tried that could be considered offal, I have liked many, but there are a lot of things (like hearts, brains, or testicles) that I have not tried, so I figured that there were going to be a few things that were going to be new to my palate. Things immediately started out with new flavors with a Veal Brain Custard with Arugula, Veal Fries (Testicles), and a Lemon Aioli. This was actually very good. The brain custard was very light. It did have the irony flavor of those organ meats that might have a lot of blood flowing through them, but that flavor was actually pretty subtle. Brains are also pretty fatty, so it had a rich flavor. The arugula was fresh and crisp and added a lemony pepper flavor which also went well with the aioli. The veal fries were interesting. They tasted good, but the thing that they reminded me of most were very good skinless hot dogs. The first course was a success for me. It introduced me to a couple of things that are well outside my comfort zone and I really liked it, so I was set up for whatever they planned on presenting to me next.
I could also say that there was some familiarity with the next dish, but that would be a stretch. I was served a Lamb Heart Tartare with Beets, a Potato Nest, and a Quail Egg Yolk. I could say that I've had lamb before, and I have had tartares of many different kinds which are frequently served with egg yolks. I have also had beets and potato nests many times. The X Factor in this is the fact that the lamb is specifically lamb heart, which I had no familiarity with. If would have had to guess about eating a heart, I would consider the fact that it is a muscle, so it might be kind of fibrous like the other muscles that we eat (any other kind of meat we regularly eat). It is also an organ so it has a lot of blood flow and might have a bit of an irony flavor. Lamb itself is kind of gamy, so I didn't have a lot of hope for this dish. It came out and I saw that the heart had been roughly chopped so the texture of the meat could be seen. As far as flavor was concerned, it did have a have a lamb flavor with some iron undertones. The beets added an earthiness and some sweetness, and the potato nest mellowed things out. The dish wasn't bad, which is actually better than I expected. I might have preferred it more however, if the heart was chopped more finely.
Overall, this dinner was a win. It was thematically appropriate, I got to try several things I had not previously tried, and even though there were some things that I didn't care for, there were several things that I did like, and I know now what may not work for me.