Lark Whole Beast Dinner, and pudding

Laura and I attended Lark’s Whole Beast Dinner on Monday, and I have to admit that I feel a little bit cheated.

I’d assumed that we would, in fact, be eating several whole beasts. In fact, we ate small bits of many different beasts. Also, while we did have pig ears, beef kidneys, and sheep sweetbreads, most of the beast parts were fairly innocuous: guincale, pork cheeks, and so on.

Which isn’t to say that the food wasn’t marvelous. I particularly loved the winterier preparations, the braised pork cheeks, the pork tongue dolce forte, and the guincale wrapped, gorgonzola-stuffed dates. The (pickled?) sheep tongue salad was also superb. But last year’s menu looks tastier, and a bit more daring, as well.

The table we sat with was great fun: Michael Hood and a bunch of other folks whose names now escape me (that’s what they get for not having blogs!) were all generous enough to share their wine with us (next year we’ll bring some to share too), and talk ranged from food to politics to more politics.

I don’t want to sell the event short — I quite enjoyed it, and I plan to attend next year — but I was definitely hoping for more. I’d have been nearly as happy (though somewhat less educated, and less likely to meet new people) by any other night at the restaurant.

Right now, I have chocolate custard baking in the oven. This is an experiment: I’ve never made any kind of pudding or custard before. But we needed some milk tonight (for a very risotto-like orzo and broccoli dish), and I had about two cups left. The New York Times had an article on chocolate pudding and while none of their recipes matched the ingredients I had on hand, one from Bittman’s How to Cook Everything did. We’ll see, in five minutes or so, if I have a tasty dessert tonight…