Trend Alert: Necking Around DC

By Olga Boikess  |  February 7, 2014
Credit: Dan Martino

Chefs who subscribe to the whole-animal cooking ethic are discovering what their thrifty great-grandparents learned by necessity. Necks (and tails) provide rich flavor and can be used in many hearty ways. Whether it’s enriching sauces and soups, making vegetables savory, or appearing on menus in simple marinated and grilled presentations, the animal’s collar is getting respect. Read on to learn where to taste-test the trend.

  • What: Agnolotti al brasato

    Where: Alba

    The Details: At his new Mount Vernon Square Italian, chef Roberto Donna braises beef neck and tail, and uses the succulent meat for the ravioli filling. The pasta pillows are served with the braising jus and a dusting of Parmesan cheese.

    425 I St. NW; 202-733-4454

  • Credit: Mina Mounkhathy

    What: Moo Ping

    Where: Bangkok Golden and Doi Moi

    The Details: Pork necks are prized for grilling in Thailand because of the flavorful ratio of muscular fat and meat. Look for them on 14th Street NW, at sophisticated Doi Moi, where the condensed milk and fish sauce in the marinade adds caramel sweetness and funk, and the dipping sauce tingles with tamarind and chiles. In Falls Church, this lesser-known Thai-Laotian also serves them with a chile-spiked dipping sauce (pictured).

    1800 14 St. NW; 202-733-5131; 6395 Seven Corners Ctr; Falls Church, VA; 703-533-9480

  • What: Kale Greens and Red Lentil Soup

    Where: PassionFish

    The Details: Smoked turkey necks are a cook’s secret replacement for the smoky goodness that a ham hock adds to simmered greens or soup. This Reston destination uses them to flavor two dishes for its Tuesday "Fast & Fit" lunch where diners can find a menu designed to offer healthy, speedy dining.

    11960 Democracy Dr.; Reston, VA; 703-230-3474

  • What: Lamb Neck Gravy

    Where: City Tap House

    The Details: This Philly import to Chinatown uses lamb necks for a traditional Italian-style tomato sauce, or as they like to say “gravy.” The braised meat is pulled off the neck and then served with the sauce, a dollop of whipped ricotta and a grilled baguette for sopping up the goodness. The restaurant also offers a pork collar entree.

    801 I St. NW; 202-644-9433

  • Credit: Reza Mohaddes

    What: Veal Neck Roast

    Where: Silo

    The Details: At his new Shaw venue, chef George Vetch’s Swiss-French sensibility sparks an entree featuring succulent veal neck with rosemary and mustard. It comes with porcini and Swiss chard, squash quenelles and cranberry mascarpone to top it off.

    919 Fifth St. NW; 202-290-2233

  • What: Copocollo/Coppa

    Where: Urban Butcher

    The Details: This butchery and bistro makes its own charcuterie. One of the chef/butcher's favorite preparations starts with the neck muscle of a pig. His version is curing in the meat cellar right now and will be ready for sale later this winter.

    8226 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD; 301-585-5800