There are currently a good number of whole animal large format feasts being offered in NYC. Many of these feature a whole roasted pig, but I wanted to do something a little different for a gathering of foodies. Resto's large format feasts stand out because they allow you to choose from a selection of animals (pig, lamb, goat, a side of beef, or fish if available) and then serve it in 10-12 different composed preparations instead of just cooking the animal whole.
I thought my foodie friends would be more adventurous, but many of them actually didn't like lamb! Luckily, CB from Eataku.com brought his lovely wife and Katie from donuts4dinner.com brought friends who were game! And so it began...
LAMB LIVER (upper left)
LAMB BELLY PASTRAMI (upper right)
LAMB RILLETTES OVER TOAST (bottom left)
BARBECUED MINI LAMB T-BONES (bottom right)
The large format feast at Resto is typically served in 3 "courses" or waves. The first wave consisted of a bunch of smaller bites to start us off. The liver was served with a sauce made from beer, which went well with the mineral-y flavor. The rillettes were meaty, but not particularly memorable. What was truly memorable, however, was the lamb belly pastrami. It had a nice array of pastrami spices, tasted of lamb, and was super melt-in-your-mouth tender without being too fatty. It was probably everyone's favorite preparation of the night. The lamb t-bones were also stellar, with a smoky flavor and very tasty meat.
KALE SALAD WITH FETA, CITRUS, AND CRISPY LAMB BACON (top)
BARBECUED LAMB RIBS (bottom left)
RUBBED LAMB RACK WITH RADISH SALAD (bottom right)
The second wave featured more tender parts of the lamb, and introduced us to some vegetables. They did a great job with vegetables at Resto, and some in our group thought that the kale salad was the best version they've ever had. I liked the balance of the salad with the feta and citrus, although I would have preferred the bacon to have been thinner and crispier. Both the ribs and rack featured tender, juicy meat, but I preferred the ribs due to a nicely crisped up skin/layer on top and a sweet barbecue sauce that went well with it.
The third wave of dishes featured four large family-style entrees.
The lamb neck was a nice mix of tasty meat and collagen all crisped up. The curry sauce was relatively mild yet flavorful.
At first we were confused since the bones looked like legs, but it makes sense since the bone at the shoulder joint of a lamb is probably fairly big. The meat was tender and juicy, flavorful and not gamy at all. Once again the vegetables stood out as the beets were satisfyingly sweet and provided a nice texture contrast to the roasted lamb meat.
This was confit the way it should be. A crisp but not hard exterior with juicy, flaky meat. Mixed with perfectly cooked brussels sprouts, fluffy pita bread, and a thick tzatziki sauce, this was delicious and comforting. Some members of our group also thought that this was the best tzatziki sauce they've had.
They basically take the whole head, split it in two, and roast it under high heat. After that, they drizzle some flavored butter back over the brains. Only half the table indulged their inner zombie, but there still weren't enough brains to go around! The brains were delicious, super creamy and buttery, with a nice soft texture similar to perfectly cooked sweetbreads. We picked at the rest of the head as well, but not much of it was edible besides a little cheek meat. That didn't stop one of our group members from eating the eyeball though!
MANGO AND RASPBERRY SORBET
The perfect end to the lamb feast. Sweet, tart, refreshing, and light, yet still creamier than I would have thought.
The feasts start at an 8 person minimum, and range from $75+t/t per person for pig to $85 for lamb/goat and $125 for a side of beef. (They can't serve you a whole cow. I think) There are two seating times at 6 and 9, although we had the later seating and didn't get seated till almost 9:30. I would strongly suggest the later seating because we didn't leave until well after 1am! I would imagine that the earlier seating gets rushed a bit to accommodate the later seating. And yes, there were indeed leftovers even though we had a decent collection of eaters.
Overall it's a very unique and enjoyable experience, especially for more adventurous foodies with discerning palates. The fact that there were so many different well-composed preparations that featured not only the main ingredient but also seasonal vegetables and accompaniments made it stand out.
111 E 29th St
between S Park Ave & Lexington Ave
Manhattan, NY 10016