Scandal rocked the art world today when it was revealed that a five course dinner of rat meat served at a Lower East Side gallery was not locally-sourced. High-toned guests paid $100 to feast on rat at a dinner intended to explore the "post-apocalyptic themes of urban survival." Artist Laura Ginn, who says she's spent the last several years "developing an ad-hoc crash course in self-reliance," served the dinner with the help of Chef Yuri Hart. She raised over $2,000 on Kickstarter for the event, and hosted it wearing a dress made entirely of two hundred rat pelts she tanned and sewed together herself.
Judging by the NY Observer's report, it seems like a delightful evening:
The first course consisted of a goat cheese crostini overlain with a small piece of rat meat and a shot glass of (rat-free) gazpacho. Diners at our end of the table noted that the goat cheese mostly overwhelmed the rat, but we found the flavor and texture reminiscent of lamb.
Next came two circles of rat and pork terrine over a deconstructed salad containing cherries, greens, pickled carrots and Mexican sour gherkins (also known as mouse melons—clever menu planning). Though oily (hardly a criticism, it’s a terrine for god’s sake), it was salty and delicious.
“Rat Two Ways” was the main course. Reminiscent of rabbit, a pile of braised rat was so tender it fell apart as soon as our fork touched it.
But was the carbon footprint of all that succulent meat worth it, just so a handful of decadent art aficionados could enjoy an ironic "post-apocalyptic hunter-gatherer feast"? DNAinfo reports that the 75 rats used to prepare the feast were not hunted and gathered on the Lower East Side, but rather sourced from a "clean and safe facility" on the West Coast and bred to be eaten. We look forward to an apocalyptic culinary landscape where organic, grass-fed, humanely-slaughtered rat meat abounds! And by that point, we guess the carbon footpring won't matter.
To be honest, we're a little upset we didn't catch wind of this until after the fact—we would have purchased carbon offset credits to assuage our pre-apocalyptic guilt just to try the dessert, which the Observer describes as "the most dramatic plating of the evening, an entire crispy rat head sat on each plate, mouth open and teeth jutting forward, and a back leg sat atop the French toast, toes and claws clearly visible." Fellas, we're thinking the same thing: Is Ginn single?
For more on the big $100-a-plate rat dinner, here's a video of Ginn explaining the project: