City Paper is not for tourists
Who says you can’t make desserts out of poultry parts?
The team behind The Pig will open a new restaurant called The Bird this fall. But tonight through May 25, you can preview the menu—including duck fat doughnuts and a waffle with fried chicken ice cream and candied cockscomb—at The Pig.
To make the savory fried chicken ice cream, pastry chef Audrey Valerio steeped chicken skin fat in cream and then used that to make a caramel. She further steeped it into the ice cream base, then added some soy sauce for a bit more umami. “It was like a three-day process,” she says. Valerio also cooked cockscomb in a simple syrup with vanilla beans for five hours, coated it in sugar, and ended up with a gummy candy that tops the dish.
The pop-up’s dinner menu has its fair share of wacky poultry dishes, too. Chef Michael Bonk will serve an ostrich fillet and ostrich sausage with smoked beets, sweet potatoes, and green peppercorn sauce. He gets the meat from California, although he’s working on sourcing some more local Maryland ostrich. “It eats like beef,” Bonk explains. “It’s super red meat, and you can serve it rare. It’s actually better rare.”
There’s a flight of four different eggs prepared in four different ways: a deviled duck egg topped with duck pastrami, a smoked partridge scrapple, a soy-pickled chicken egg yolk over rice, and a Filipino-style deep fried quail egg. (The Bird may also to a brunch pop-up this summer where you can expect more interesting takes on eggs.)
For more of a feast, Bonk is preparing a $54 “Peking-style” muscovy duck platter for two with breast meat, shredded leg meat, seared hearts, and crispy tongues. It comes with lettuce, crepes, fermented chili paste, ramp kimchi, and other accompaniments, so people can build their own wraps.
All told, the menu will feature eight or nine types of birds and all their various parts. But not everything on the menu is quite as out-there. The Bird initially was intended as a fast-casual fried chicken spot, so Bonk has spent a lot of time perfecting his fried half Amish chicken (traditional or “Tennessee hot”) as well as a roasted chicken.
Bonk is particularly proud of his chicken wings, which take four days to make. The meat is brined, dried out, fried at a low temperature in a (gluten-free) rice flour batter, cooled overnight, fried again, cooled down again, and fried one last time before it’s served.
“It’s really, really, really crispy,” Bonk says.
The pop-up is a bit of an experiment for what will eventually be on the menu, but even when The Bird opens, expect the offerings to change often.
“I don’t want to be involved in a restaurant that has the same menu every day,” Bonk says.