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The Dish: Veal Cheek Parmesan
Where To Get It: Officina; 1120 Maine Ave. SW; 202-747-5222; officinadc.com
What It Is: To make this dish, chefs braise veal cheeks in red wine with tomatoes, carrots, celery, and onions. Once the cheeks have softened, they chop up the meat and season it with oregano before laying the mixture into a terrine mold, pressing it, and chopping it into hearty squares book-ended by thick slices of mozzarella. Next the squares are breaded and deep fried, creating a golden packet lavished with the tomato-rich braising sauce and plenty of olive oil.
The Story: Executive Chef Nicholas Stefanelli developed the dish a year ago at his sister restaurant, Masseria, but kept it in his back pocket because he thought it would work best at Officina. There’s an in-house butchery at his new three-story, multi-concept at The Wharf, so he highlights a number of off-cuts on the menu, including tripe and sweetbreads.
What It Tastes Like: It has the same crunchy crust and melted mozzarella middle as chicken parm, but the veal cheeks add a meaty richness that goes way beyond poultry’s milder flavor. Consider splitting the dish, unless you need to eat your feelings.