Let's get one thing clear right up front: Steven Gedra has a thing for feet too. And tails, ears and organs, truth be told. An early hit at his previous restaurant, Bistro Europa, was a feast centered around a pig's head. Kidneys and brains and stuffed pig trotters have sold out as specials. At The Black Sheep, his new place at 367 Connecticut St., whipped spiced lard is a standard bread basket accompaniment.
So the "Rex Ryan Wings" that appeared on The Black Sheep's specials sheet Saturday night - marinated, deep-fried chicken feet in a sticky sauce - are more than just a poke at the new Buffalo Bills coach's reputation as a foot man.
Chicken feet have run as a special a few times. Gedra marinates the chicken feet, which have a couple inches of ankle on them, braises them to tenderize the skin, and marinates them again. They're fried to a crisp and tossed in tangy-sweet General Tso's sauce spiked with ginger and chile and served with celery, carrots and blue cheese dressing. They're $5/7, $10/10.
If you've ever enjoyed chicken wings, you could enjoy chicken feet too, if you stopped being so Western for a minute. They're vehicles for the delivery of chicken skin. There are lots of little bones that can make it fiddly to eat, but whether steamed with black bean sauce Chinese dim sum style or fried up Gedra style and served crispy, they're worth the work.
"I've done feet before, but not in this particular incarnation," he said. "I did it simply because I thought it was funny. I know that Rex is embarrassed by the video, but it's my belief he shouldn't be."
He doesn't clip the toenails either. How's that for primal? Doesn't that squick people out? "Not really," Gedra said.
It is fair to note in this context that Gedra is the only chef in town with the ... nerve to sell testicles, from lambs raised by Boston's Stillwater Farms.
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