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Tasty sweetbreads await at Gemma.
Tasty sweetbreads await at Gemma.
Photo: Garrett Hall/EDFW

9 Offal-y Good Dishes to Try Right Now in Dallas

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Tasty sweetbreads await at Gemma.
| Photo: Garrett Hall/EDFW

Nose-to-tail cooking, whole animal allocation — whatever you want to call it, eating every bit of the animal is mighty trendy these days. While the term "offal" in and of itself isn't exactly appealing, many Dallas chefs are doing tasty things with liver, tripe, sweetbreads and more these days. Whether you're an offal beginner or a seasoned brain eater, here are nine offal-y good dishes worth seeking out. (For more options, scope out our previous offal-centric map.)


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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Belly & Trumpet

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Steamed buns stuffed with braised pork belly are pretty trendy these days, but chef Brian Zenner takes it one further by filling his buns with Wagyu beef tongue. Don't tell any squeamish table mates it's tongue and they'll be none the wiser -- it's tender, beefy and totally delicious, adorned with a little pickled cucumber to perk it up.

Canary By Gorji

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Lamb brains aren't exactly a hot menu item these days, so if you're curious a trip to Addison may be in order. Chef Gorji boils them till they're tender and creamy, sears them in butter and serves them up on crispy bread with green garbanzos, tomato and red onion for a sort of brain bruschetta.

CBD Provisions

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Chef Michael Sindoni's 'nose-to-tail' approach is making offal sexy. Ordering the dramatically-presented whole pig's head will not only avail you of the fatty cheek meat but also the chewy eyeballs. There's also tender braised tripe served with bread to sop up the spicy sauce, as well as creamy chicken liver mousse served on crunchy housemade toast.

Deli News

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We're admittedly sort of confused by the old adage "What am I, chopped liver?" -- as if it's bad to be compared to chopped liver? Hardly. If you're not brave enough to try this creamy deli staple on its own, try the NBC sandwich, which pairs it with roast beef for a one-two punch of meaty goodness.

El Come Taco

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This new East Dallas taqueria clearly ain't afraid of a little offal: Besides all the usual taco fillings like suadero and cabeza, you'll also find crispy-edged grilled tripe and even brains, which Observer critic Scott Reitz describes as having the "texture of soft, crumbly custard and a very mild flavor."
Husband and wife team Stephen Rogers and Allison Yoder say they're selling a lot more sweetbreads than they expected to, and for good reason: The crisply fried whole sweetbread (which is actually a calf's thymus gland) is like a giant chicken nugget, if chicken nuggets were actually delicious, perched atop a zingy whole grain mustard sauce and frisee.

Meddlesome Moth

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Chef David McMillan's sweetbreads are an excellent starter dish for the offal beginner: The creamy morsels are deep-fried till golden and crispy on the outside and served with a creamy, garlicky black pepper aioli and a sweet sorghum-cider sauce for texture and flavor contrast.

The Rustic

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Rocky Mountain oysters are of course not oysters at all, but calf's testicles. Regardless of their somewhat icky origins, the "calf fries," as this Uptown hot spot calls them, are crispy outside, juicy inside and served with a creamy buttermilk dip. Not convinced? Perhaps a few beers from The Rustic's excellent selection of local brews will bolster your confidence.

Stampede 66

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The cryptically-named Sonofabitch stew at Stephan Pyles' Uptown ode to Texan cuisine is an offal-lover's dream: Bits of organs such as sweetbreads, tongue, liver, and heart suspended in a creamy stew punctuated by Brussels sprouts leaves and pickled vegetables. Definitely get some cornbread or beer bread to sop up the leftovers.

Belly & Trumpet

Steamed buns stuffed with braised pork belly are pretty trendy these days, but chef Brian Zenner takes it one further by filling his buns with Wagyu beef tongue. Don't tell any squeamish table mates it's tongue and they'll be none the wiser -- it's tender, beefy and totally delicious, adorned with a little pickled cucumber to perk it up.

Canary By Gorji

Lamb brains aren't exactly a hot menu item these days, so if you're curious a trip to Addison may be in order. Chef Gorji boils them till they're tender and creamy, sears them in butter and serves them up on crispy bread with green garbanzos, tomato and red onion for a sort of brain bruschetta.

CBD Provisions

Chef Michael Sindoni's 'nose-to-tail' approach is making offal sexy. Ordering the dramatically-presented whole pig's head will not only avail you of the fatty cheek meat but also the chewy eyeballs. There's also tender braised tripe served with bread to sop up the spicy sauce, as well as creamy chicken liver mousse served on crunchy housemade toast.

Deli News

We're admittedly sort of confused by the old adage "What am I, chopped liver?" -- as if it's bad to be compared to chopped liver? Hardly. If you're not brave enough to try this creamy deli staple on its own, try the NBC sandwich, which pairs it with roast beef for a one-two punch of meaty goodness.

El Come Taco

This new East Dallas taqueria clearly ain't afraid of a little offal: Besides all the usual taco fillings like suadero and cabeza, you'll also find crispy-edged grilled tripe and even brains, which Observer critic Scott Reitz describes as having the "texture of soft, crumbly custard and a very mild flavor."

Gemma

Husband and wife team Stephen Rogers and Allison Yoder say they're selling a lot more sweetbreads than they expected to, and for good reason: The crisply fried whole sweetbread (which is actually a calf's thymus gland) is like a giant chicken nugget, if chicken nuggets were actually delicious, perched atop a zingy whole grain mustard sauce and frisee.

Meddlesome Moth

Chef David McMillan's sweetbreads are an excellent starter dish for the offal beginner: The creamy morsels are deep-fried till golden and crispy on the outside and served with a creamy, garlicky black pepper aioli and a sweet sorghum-cider sauce for texture and flavor contrast.

The Rustic

Rocky Mountain oysters are of course not oysters at all, but calf's testicles. Regardless of their somewhat icky origins, the "calf fries," as this Uptown hot spot calls them, are crispy outside, juicy inside and served with a creamy buttermilk dip. Not convinced? Perhaps a few beers from The Rustic's excellent selection of local brews will bolster your confidence.

Stampede 66

The cryptically-named Sonofabitch stew at Stephan Pyles' Uptown ode to Texan cuisine is an offal-lover's dream: Bits of organs such as sweetbreads, tongue, liver, and heart suspended in a creamy stew punctuated by Brussels sprouts leaves and pickled vegetables. Definitely get some cornbread or beer bread to sop up the leftovers.

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