Ever since he started buying whole animals, Willis Loughhead, the new executive chef at Country, has been turning out some top-flight charcuterie, as well several dishes that incorporate offal. Loughhead gets his meat from Fleisher's Grass-fed and Organic Meats in Rhinebeck, N.Y. As you can see here, he’s wasted no time curing meats. Hanging in the wine cellar at Country’s Dining Room are, from left to right, lamb pancetta, pork pancetta, house-cured pigs’s leg prosciutto style, house-cured pig’s leg Serrano-style, Bresaola-style beef tenderloin and lastly imported Serrano with hoof.
“It’s not something you’re going to do unless you buy the whole animal,” Loughhead says of making charcuterie. As for the nose-to-tail aspect, the only folks who seem to be freaked out are the hotel staff: “The room service people complain when there’s a big pig or lamb’s head outside there office.” Like many menus, Country’s downplays its more challenging cuts of meat. A sumptuous pig’s head terrine is billed as “Crispy Pork Terrine.” C’mon chef, let’s call the whole thing offal.
Like many so-called haute-barnyard chefs, Loughhead isn’t just about meat, he’s also committed to fresh seasonal ingredients. Ramp season is over in about a week, but fear not fans of wild leeks. Loughhead plans to obtain between 60 and 80 pounds so he can make ramp gnocchi as well as serve them with côte de veau. Veal chops with ramps are well and good, but ramp gnocchi? The mind boggles!
Country, 90 Madison Ave, 212-889-7001