Tongues, Livers, & Hearts: The Surprising Revival of Offal | Food Feature | Indy Week
Pin It

Tongues, Livers, & Hearts: The Surprising Revival of Offal 

An offering of offal at Dashi

Photo by Alex Boerner

An offering of offal at Dashi

I take a gulp of Dragon's Milk to wash down the taste of the pork tongue.

It's a Saturday night at Durham's Dashi, and in the corner booth of the restaurant's izakaya, or Japanese gastropub, I am surrounded by little plates—of pork tongue, beef heart, beef tendons, chicken heart, chicken liver, chicken skin, and shrimp heads.

The intimate, industrial space is tucked upstairs from the street-level ramen shop, like a playful tree house. Likewise, the izakaya's menu dares you to play, to hopscotch past your comfort zone. That's why I'm here: to have a cocktail and order everything that makes me squirm. I sip liberally from the Dragon's Milk—a drink of gin, cucumber, and unfiltered sake—between bites.

Most of Dashi's offal and off-cut selections are yakimono, or grilled dishes. The meat is salted and charred, sometimes served with a bit of wasabi. It is unabashedly naked. Either accept the ingredient for everything it is—and is not—or return to the land of Wonderbra chicken breasts.

I tentatively bite some pork tongue off the blackened skewer, chewing long enough to contemplate the irony of tasting tongue. The beef heart, like its chicken counterpart, is deep, dark, and meaty. Because the heart is a muscle, its flavor is less mineral and more approachable. I take another bite, then another.

The chicken livers, common but rarely served alone, evoke a pate that is done trying to impress people. There are no bells or whistles, just rosy centers with a buttery texture and iron-rich taste. As I push aside the beef tendons—deep-fried, curry-dusted, greasy—and devour the shrimp heads, I realize that the most notable part of the meal was not any one bite, but the server's relaxed, assured reply: "Chicken hearts, livers, and skin, right?" he said. "Those are the best parts."

I can't help but wonder: Since when?

• • •

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Food Feature



Twitter Activity

Comments

We are a Greek family from Dallas who know good Greek food when we see it and are accustomed to …

by Taso on Kipos Greek Taverna (Orange County)

Don't waste your $$ here. Horrible service, mediocre food. From what we heard - kitchen turnover is the issue due …

by Ibaguru on Piedmont Restaurant (Durham County)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

The correlation between violence against children and women, and violence against non-human animals demonstrates how it harms those of us …

by Jerri Gingrich on Vegan Feminism Theorist Carol J. Adams Wants to Weaponize What You Eat in the War Against Trump (Food Feature)

Page 9: Meat is rape. Dairy is racism.
Page 10: Article about how delicious Al's Burger Shack is! Let's all …

by INDEED! on Vegan Feminism Theorist Carol J. Adams Wants to Weaponize What You Eat in the War Against Trump (Food Feature)

The lady is obviously a sick woman who makes no sense whatsoever.

by one truth on Vegan Feminism Theorist Carol J. Adams Wants to Weaponize What You Eat in the War Against Trump (Food Feature)

Carol Adams, "dairy has achieved its role in nutritional recommendation because of racist nutritional policies." LOL!!!!

Carol Adams, "The …

by Timothy Oswald on Vegan Feminism Theorist Carol J. Adams Wants to Weaponize What You Eat in the War Against Trump (Food Feature)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation