Oxtail is popping up on menus across the country in unique ways. Smothered with gravy and cheese curds in poutine, stuffed between layers of puff pastry in turnovers, or layered atop pimento polenta in French toast, a variety of elevated oxtail dishes are gaining popularity.
Most often, oxtail is slow-cooked or braised. The gelatinous nature of the cut works as a base for soups and stews. While many restaurants, even Marcus Samuelsson’s recently opened Harlem spot, Red Rooster, still serve oxtail in traditional ways, a handful of other places are exploring alternative preparations.
The Latin American eatery, The Pan American, is among those taking a more innovative approach in New York City. The restaurant, which opened days ago in NoLita, is taking traditional oxtail dishes from South, Central and North American, and infusing them with modern techniques and ingredients. The Pan American's rabo encendido is a spin on the classic Dominican oxtail stew. They use it to fill puff pastry in a twist on apple turnovers.
In Los Angeles, there are rumors of another savory and sweet oxtail dish, this one at the hotly-anticipated Flying Pig Café. While discussing the role his popular food truck is playing in an interesting new 'film,' Chef Joe Kim, the owner of Flying Pig, said yesterday that its brick-and-mortar sibling will feature an oxtail dish with blackberry sauce.
A slightly more adventurous way to experience oxtail can be found back in New York at Shopsins: the “Boner II”. This stuffed French toast boasts poached eggs, pimento polenta, and of course, oxtail. Sounds like a miracle hangover cure.
Another offbeat preparation, oxtail poutine, is on menus at two Southern California hot spots. Animal in Los Angeles and Haven Gastropub in Orange County both serve upscale versions of the Canadian specialty — one with oxtail gravy and Cheddar curds, the other with red wine braised oxtail, Cheddar curds and pommes frites. Ladder 15 in Philadelphia is also paying homage to a regional favorite with their oxtail “cheesesteak”, which is smothered with beer-braised onions, topped with Gruyère cheese and served open-faced on French bread.
The Daily Byte is a regular column dedicated to covering interesting food news and trends across the country. Click here for the previous The Daily Byte.