The Top Food Trends and Who Does Them Best: Shared Meals
Foie gras–stuffed chicken, porterhouse steak and whole suckling pig are the new extravagant norm
There were six of us up against one pork butt—and the pig won. It was a beauty, grown massively plump at a small farm just outside St. Jacobs. Rubbed with brown sugar, it spent a slow afternoon in the oven until the meat pulled apart effortlessly, clouds of steam breaking from the sweet crust. We dug in, mixing the shreds with fresh oysters and kimchee, then wrapping it all in lettuce leaves and savoury crêpes. After a couple of blissful hours, we’d barely made a dent.
The butt was the bo ssäm at Daishō, the David Chang restaurant that shares a building with Shōtō. And, yes, I recognize I’m a bit obsessed with the guy, but it’s justified. Nearly every dining trend of the moment can be traced to Chang and his Momofuku brand, including the maximalist shared meals on so many menus. Since opening, the Daishō large formats have grown to include a brisket with crab mayo for 10 people and a platter of five whole lobsters sautéed in chili oil and five spice (it serves four to six). I was back again on New Year’s Eve for an elaborate six-course dinner for four, the highlight of which was two whole speckled trout on a bed of humpback shrimp and what seemed to be several sturgeons’ worth of caviar.
In the past few months, I’ve consumed my share of an intimidatingly thick 22-ounce côte de boeuf smeared in marrow-infused butter at the Harbord Room offspring THR & Co., a 32-ounce porterhouse served on butcher block at Drake One Fifty and a 36-ounce cut with onion relish while I sat beside the crackling hearth at Auberge du Pommier. At Farmhouse Tavern, the rustic but consistently impressive restaurant in the Junction, chef Alex Molitz hosts an occasional $150-a-head event called Hunt Camp, serving pheasant, rabbit, wild trout and venison rack. Michael Steh, the chef at The Chase, roasts a whole chicken stuffed with brioche and foie gras—it’s the sexiest poultry in town. And at Bestellen, the carni-phile restaurant on College, chef Rob Rossi built a glass-enclosed dry-aging room and prepares, with a few days’ notice, an entire suckling pig, as well as a 32-ounce côte de boeuf that arrives, for good measure, with roasted marrow.