5. Crispy Pig Head at Animal.
A certain brand of excess has quite rightly given Animal a reputation as a purveyor of dude food: meat-heavy, no-holds-barred, calorific glory. But the true secret to Jon Shook and Vinny Dototlo's success is actually the lightness with which they present their ingredients, giving fat-dense components a delicate touch, and enough acid to make every dish balanced and delicious.
A shining example of this is the crispy pig head. Could the name of this dish be more aggressive, more in-your-face? And yet, what's delivered on the plate is not some deep fried eyeball or gelatinous head cheese worthy of a dare. Rather, the meat of the head is pulled, made into patties, then breaded and fried. Topped with chow chow — Southern pickled relish — the mellow, fatty, porcine meat gets a bright shot of vinegar and a fruity element that brings the whole dish into piggy, tangy harmony.
Which, now that we think about it, could be a tagline for Animal in general: Piggy tangy harmony.
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