But I mean that in the most positive way possible. In fact, Campagnola Roma’s recent Quinto Quarto: No Guts, No Glory dinner was perhaps the best offal dinner I’ve had.
There were actually TWO offal dinners happening in Vancouver that night and, while I was greatly tempted by the 7:00 p.m. seating at the other place, I elected to attend the Roma feast, despite the 8 o’ clock kickoff, because the menu appealed more. Crispy pig ears? Lamb neck? I’m in!
Also “in” for the feastly festivities on this night was our friend, let’s call her Agent 17, but you know her here on this blog as kathode, two other Katherines, and Akemi who enthusiastically committed to the dinner after misreading a menu item as Peking Duck instead of Pekin Duck.
The night in pictures…
Let the eating begin…
The thought of eating a pig’s ear and geoduck (elephant trunk clam) may be off-putting to some but those willing to venture into uncharted culinary territory were well-rewarded here. It was Akemi’s first time having geoduck and she ended up zeroing in and helping herself to the pieces on my plate. The accompanying tomato chutney was good, but the lemon aioli was unbelievable. In fact, after our plates were cleared, we refused to let them take the aioli, keeping it for the subsequent courses. My only quibble was the uneven preparation of the ear. Some was crispy, some less so, but it was all very tasty nevertheless. Despite Akemi’s warnings, I admittedly overdid it on the ears.
The tartare was a hit, gorgeous flavors perfectly complimented by the smoky beer accompaniment. Everyone liked the gizzard fritters – but, let’s be real. It’s deep fried something. Of course they’ll like it! Not much love for the duck feet that most found too lacking in meat. Mainly skin and bones and not worth the effort for many of my table mates, but I liked the flavors and bold spiciness.
Next to the promised plums in the pork crackling dessert, this was the only menu item that gave me pause. As much as I love my nose to tail dining, I’ve never been a big fan of kidneys that, I’ve found, have always possessed a certain…funkiness. But, surprisingly, this version was actually quite nice.
This plate was the big winner among my table mates. The octopus was perfectly tender, the sausage savory with a hint of sweet. Plenty of raves for the couscous lookalike fregola, a Sardinian oven-toasted pasta.
Course #5: Braised lamb neck.
I had a feeling this would be my favorite plate of the night and – guess what? It was! Akin to an ultra-tender, slow-braised short rib.
Roasted bone marrow, drippings, with grilled black kale and celeriac.
Accompanying the lamb neck were these delectable-looking marrow bones. After the ladies helped themselves, I ended up with the biggest piece – which, unfortunately, wasn’t cooked through, so this one was a miss for me.
Probably the best dessert I’ve had at one of these events. Yes, better than the brain pana cotta that one time and the blood-chocolate ice cream the other. I could take or leave the cracklings but, overall, very nicely done. And the soft serve! Who would have thought a foie gras ice cream would actually be good?! Well, me. But it was great to have my suspicions deliciously confirmed.
A fabulous meal! Apparently, another blog semi-regular was also in attendance (Nicole) and, even though she recognized me, she was too shy to approach and say hi. I’ll admit, I can look pretty fearsome when I’m eating but next time, Nicole, stop on by and introduce yourself. Just don’t put your fingers near my mouth.
You’ve been warned.
Thanks to Agent 17 for some of the pics!