To start the meal chef Porter served an amuse bouche of bone marrow bruscetta topped with chanterelle mushrooms. The bone marrow -- spongy tissue found inside animal bones -- lended itself well toward becoming a rich, if slightly mineral-y tasting butter that, when paired with the fleshy chanterelles, made for a truly satisfying dish. Still the barbequed chicken foot, a late addition to the menu, stole the show for this course with its smoky flavor, crispy skin and abundance of soft gelatin. They aren't for everyone, but in our opinion gnawing around the delicate bones added a bit of mischievousness to the upscale meal.
Next came the first course: chef Porter's homemade head cheese -- the very one we helped make earlier in the week. The dish included pork tongue, ears, cheeks, tails and trotters, seasoned with vinegar, smoked salt and fennel pollen. Cut about a half an inch thick, Porter's head cheese looks almost nothing like the super smooth pate with which you might be familiar, but offers a very similar, and enjoyable, taste. As recommended by the chef, we enjoyed ours with some spicy mustard atop a slice of grilled bread. Though it might have been hard for some to get over the mosaic of fatty gelatin and other odd parts, we swear if you didn't know what comprises this dish, you'd never think twice about eating a whole loaf.