A Taste of Lamb @ Mado Family Dinner
I became infatuated with Mado before my tongue touched their food. My instincts did me right with Chefs Rob and Allie Levitt, and myself and my family have enjoyed many nice meals there. Mado successfully catered the Local Beet launch party and my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah brunch. I like Mado. I will say though, what I have said before, I like Mado best for the their monthly family meals. Over many platters of food, Chef Levitt and his friend Andew Zimmerman of Sepia (I had always pronounced in to rhyme with eh, but they said it like what too many people have seen lately, as in seepage), showed what lamb could taste like.
We tasted liver and loin; the neck and what the neck supports (i.e., lamb brains); some it got spit roasted and some of it got hay baked (I preferred the former). I would not say, really, that I came out of the meal with an appreciation for the subtleties of lamb. The whole beast menu just brought good food. The neck meat cooked between flaky pastry, called pastilla but not really–pastilla is light, modulated with eggs and lemon, and pastilla is sweet, dusted with cinnamon and sugar–still made me want to go into the kitchen for an extra slice. I resisted more than one round of charcuterie even though I could have made my whole meal of the liver pate and summer sausage–pacing being critical at these meals. The brains, cooked and formed into a terrine made for a little comedy routine at our end of the table as we sat next to a friend named Rich. It was like everyone would sample the terrine. “Rich”. “What?” “The terrine.” “Rich” “What?” “The terrine.” Ad nauseum. We tasted a lot of good lamb.
On his Twitter feed the other day, Rob Levitt noted that he was talking about veg not meat. Really, Mado may be famous for meat, but they always shine with produce. Lambs quarters, haha, got just cooked, and were about as good as any other lamb dish. The heart was almost superfluous to the salad, but as good as the strawberries were, there were hardly second shift to the rice pudding. We ate well besides the lamb.
That’s what the Mado family dinner does. It treats you to an array of food, some you knew, some you think you knew, and some that should have always been like this, but rarely get treated this well. You do not have to love-love every dish because more comes right around the corner. There may be many reasons to eat at Mado, but there is no better reason to eat there than one of their family dinners.