Matt Carter started the local nose-to-tail trend four years ago, slow-roasting a whole pig in La Caja China for Sunday brunch at The Mission. Kevin Binkley jumped in whole hog last fall, offering an all-you-can-eat pig dinner on Saturday afternoons and evenings at Cafe Bink. Now Jared Porter is getting on board the whole-animal bandwagon at The Parlor.
In fact, he and his kitchen crew plan to take the concept a few delicious steps beyond pig, and it all starts next Wednesday night, February 6.
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You see, Porter and company aren't limiting themselves to pork but rather featuring a different animal each week. Next Wednesday, they'll feature a whole pig, and after that, they're work with lamb, goat, rabbit, quail, even bass and tilapia farm-raised in Gila Bend (which Porter promises is clean-tasting and delicious). Porter will be buying most of his product from local herdsman Brad Payne, who raises lambs and goats and sources the rest.
The weekly event -- offered Wednesday through Saturday nights for dinner only -- has been named Bestia Tutto, Italian for "whole animal." Three menu items making use of the featured animal will be offered each week: an appetizer ($9-$10), a pasta ($12-$14) and an entree ($16-$20), but customers may also order a three-course tasting menu for a lower price, probably somewhere between $30-$40, depending on the animal. Although the kitchen crew at The Parlor won't be using La Caja China, they'll be cooking the animals a variety of cool ways -- grilling, sous vide-ing and roasting in the wood-burning oven overnight. They'll also be curing some of the meats for charcuterie. Porter says, "I'm cutting these guys loose. They're a talented bunch and I'm giving them a lot of freedom on this."