Two years ago this time, gentle reader, you could not get through a restaurant review in a New York–based publication without encountering the R-word: “recession.” And we're still feeling the culinary repercussions of that market meltdown.
See, back in the '09, with the economy a bigger hot mess than a school-cafeteria Sloppy Joe, the sanctimonious contingent of the Brooklyn restaurant scene (think seasonal/local/sustainable/blah-blah-blah) eagerly embraced the frugal, down-home aesthetic of “upscale comfort food”—often, a euphemism for “We buy cheap cuts of meat and cook them for a long-ass time, and for that we will charge you in the vicinity of $20 for a small but beautifully plated portion of some obscure, newly acceptable part of the animal.”
The economy has theoretically picked up, but this credo of Brooklyn restaurant cooking remains rampant. And while I love rich, slow-cooked, meat-based dining—and respect the bargain-hunter impetus behind it—I resent the massive markup. So I was excited when I saw a 4-pound breast of lamb ribs—a cut I had tried only twice, each time at trendy Brooklyn restaurants that shall remain nameless, since I genuinely enjoyed and do not want to badmouth them—for $4 at a market on Washington Ave.
Lifelong lover of lamb though I am, I was utterly unfamiliar with preparation methods for this cut, and hence worried about my ability to cook down the significant layer of fat without drying out the meat. But for $4, I decided to go for it. I'd say this should serve one or two people.