50 Reasons to Love Toronto: No. 28, Sweetbreads are the new chicken nuggets

50 Reasons to Love Toronto: No. 28, Sweetbreads are the new chicken nuggets

No. 28, Sweetbreads are the new chicken nuggets
The prosciutto-wrapped offal at Buca. (Image: Angus Fergusson) 

When nose-to-tail restaurants like Cowbell and the Black Hoof started serving offal a few years back, diners debated the adventurous menus with the giddy trepidation of children about to play a game of truth or dare (“I’ll get the tongue sandwich, if you go for the pig’s tail”). Since then, entrails, organs, faces and feet have become requisite on the city’s best menus, emboldening our tastes and turning out a new breed of grown-up diner. Without a moment of misgiving, we’ll order prosciutto-wrapped lamb’s brain at Buca, slurp marrow out of a calf’s shank at Fabbrica, dip fritters in tripe ragù at Enoteca Sociale and top our crostini with tongue-to-tail duck rillette at Canoe. Our appetite has even surpassed the need for exotic-sounding names to mask the offal truth—the more brazen the dish, the better, like Parts and Labour’s pig platter, which brings sweetbreads, belly, foie gras and ear in trotter sauce. Yes, in 2011, there’s no half-assing our commitment to the flesh.