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The Dish: Offal salad
Where to Get It: Kyirisan, 1924 8th St. NW; (202) 525-2942; kyirisandc.com
What It Is: A playful salad of beef tendon, tripe, and chicken hearts. The tendon is slow-cooked for about four hours with a mirepoix of carrots, onion, and fennel; the tripe is slow-cooked on the stove for around two hours; and the chicken hearts are quickly pan-fried with Asian spices, including lemongrass, ginger, and garlic. The cooked organ meats are then combined with fresh cucumber and tomatoes and tossed with a tamarind-based dressing.
What It Tastes Like: Chef Tim Ma describes the salad as eating a room-temperature bowl of pho. Each organ meat has a different texture—from the gelatinous, fatty tendon to the chewy hearts. The spices and tamarind dressing bring a brightness and zip to the dish, as do the fresh vegetables.
The Story: Kyirisan’s menu previously offered a plate of offal with noodles. As the weather turned warmer, Ma figured it was time to switch to a lighter variation. Ma says it’s been a fun dish for the kitchen, but it hasn’t caught on yet with customers. Even when encouraging servers to point it out, he estimates that out of 200 or 300 plates served during busy nights, the restaurant might only sell four or five bowls of offal salad. “Organs and noodles all make sense now and everybody’s used to it. But organs and salad, not yet,” he says. “I feel like that’s something you would eat off a street cart in Southeast Asia, not in a fancy restaurant in Shaw.” Despite the lack of popularity, it’s easily the most interesting dish on the menu at the moment, and Ma expects to keep it there for the foreseeable future.