Hot-and-sour braised lamb neck at Calliope
Lamb neck with white beans and escarole at Maialino
Lamb neck with rutabega puree, red cabbage and baby carrots at The Marrow
Lamb neck with salsa verde at The Cannibal
This Easter, holiday tables will groan under the collective weight of spring lamb dishes (symbolizing, of course, that righteous dude Jesus). But beyond the traditional roasts and racks, underloved lamb neck is having a moment on restaurant menus, with visionary toques looking to it as the latest bang-for-your-buck meat. Cooked low and slow, its cartilaginous components break down, resulting in robust, gamey flavors. For this reason, and its low price, chef Nick Anderer of Italian restaurant Maialino(Gramercy Park Hotel, 2 Lexington Ave at 21st St; 212-777-2410) calls lamb neck “the osso buco of lamb,” and showcases it in a Roman classic, braised until meltingly soft and paired with creamy white beans, supple escarole and invigorating rosemary ($23). The meaty morsel is also braised at The Marrow(99 Bank St at Greenwich St, 212-428-6000), with fragrant juniper ($23). It’s served atop a silky puree of earthy, fenugreek-specked rutabaga—a tumble of tangy red cabbage and roasted baby carrots counterbalance the richness. Over at French bistro Calliope(84 E 4th St at Second Ave, 212-260-8484), chef-owner Ginevra Iverson mixes East and West influences for her hot-and-sour-style soup, piled high with the sticky meat and enlivened with fiery chilies, briny green olives and a sharp tomato-and-red-wine-vinegar broth ($27). Hard-core carnivores can swing by The Cannibal(113 E 29th St between Park Ave South and Lexington Ave, 212-686-5480) for a balls-out variation: Chef Preston Clark confits the entire length of neck ($60)—enough to feed a family, though the menu specifies for two—in duck and lamb fats, so the exterior is extra crispy, and zips up the gut-busting dish with a Calabrian-chili-spiked salsa verde. We expect more chefly renditions of the under-the-radar cut to pop up on New York City menus—just call it the new pork belly.
Cantina Taqueria & Tequila Bar
Though Cantina opened as a simple neighborhood bar that just so happened to sell tacos, it soon expanded to offer everything from nachos to rice bowls to burritos. Start with a classic frozen margarita ($10.95) or Corona ($4.95) and a dip sampler of queso, guacamole and three house salsas ($11.95). Then, choose from the extensive menu of Mexican favorites, like a chili-lime chicken rice bowl ($12.95), a pulled pork and pineapple burrito ($12.95) or three of the many varieties of tacos made with fresh corn tortillas (all $15.95). In addition to the pulled pork and chicken, there’s also brisket, grilled steak, baja fish and sriracha shrimp. Snack on a side of elotes, or Mexican street corn with crema and cotija cheese, or sweet plantains (both $4.95). Deal seekers might want to stop by for their happy hour from 3 to 7pm on weekdays to score $5 guacamole, $6 margaritas and $2.95 tacos.
Venue says: “Bottomless Brunch is back! Add it for $12.95 for 60 mins. It's a Harlem Thing -Mimosas, Margarita and Sangria.”