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At Boukies: What could be better than a rack of grilled lamb chops bolstered with lemon potatoes?
Lamb is the new beef, and Brooklyn is its greatest borough. Whether cooked well-done or rare; barbecued, roasted, boiled, or merely seared; well-spiced or left au naturale; the flavor bursts in your mouth like an atom bomb. Here are our 10 favorite places to eat lamb.
10. Paidakia Galaktos Stin Schara at Boukies – The baby lamb chops are delicate and done to a turn at Boukies, a new Greek meze parlor, where the rich lemon potatoes soaked in meat juices and spicy broccoli rabe provide the perfect context. 29 East 2nd Street, 212-777-2501
9. Smoked Lamb Sausage at Mile End Sandwich – Opulently dressed with harissa slaw and eggplant puree, the lamb link at MES is unforgettable, and the zatar-dusted roll ain’t bad either, proving that Middle Eastern cuisine can be brilliantly embroidered upon by Montreal sensibilities. Offered in slightly different form at Mile End Deli. 53 Bond Street, 212-529-2990; 97 Hoyt Street, Brooklyn, 718-852-7510
8. Lamb Tikka Kabab at Kabul Kabab House – You know how, when you order a lamb shish kebab, it’s nearly always disappointingly dry and tough? Not at this Flushing Afghani, where every convex chunk is moist and only slightly chewy. Shown with both brown and saffron rice. 45-51 Main Street, Queens, 718-461-1919
7. Braised Lamb Filets With Napa Cabbage and Roasted Chili at Land of Plenty – Surprisingly secreted behind Bloomingdale’s, this upscale Sichuan offers four lamb dishes, all superb. Most irresistible, perhaps, is the one that features sheep swatches immersed in red chili oil, which also floats plenty of toasted red chilies, too. Watch out tongue! 204 East 58th Street, 212-308-8788
6. Lamb Liver Toast With Kumquat Marmalade at Allswell – The liver is done medium rare, the marmalade – a novel touch – adds more sourness than sweetness. This contra-intuitive dish is one of the most spectacular ovine usages in town, but you can only get it sporadically on the constantly changing menu at Allswell. 124 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, 347-799-2743
5. Lamb Chops at Gregory’s 26 Corner Taverna – You’ve never tasted such meaty chops, grilled to perfection and presented with rustic, rough-cut fries. After your meal, the bones will be polished clean as if with emery paper, and your Greek dining companions only make the entrée taste better. Dine outside in fine weather. 2602 23rd Avenue, Queens, 718-777-5511
Gregory’s also does a spectacular roast baby lamb.
4. Lamb With Cumin Flavor at Hot Kitchen – For those unfamiliar with the oddball spicing schemes of Silk-Road Chinese cuisine, the cumin is a wonderful surprise, sending the concentrated flavor of the lamb in a Texas chili-con-carne direction, and the sweet onions are a tremendous asset in the enjoyment of the meat, too. 104 Second Avenue, 212-228-3090
3. Lamb Sausage at John Brown Smokehouse – See it glisten in its cardboard boat! The link perfectly balances the flavors of hardwood and sheep, in a tip of the hat to the Muslim neighborhood this maverick barbecue is located in. Despite my love of brisket, I’d order this first every time. 25-08 37th Avenue, Queens, 718-361-0085
2. Haneez at Yemen Café – It doesn’t look like much posing next to its sides of basmati rice and a vegetable medley like a big-hipped bathing beauty, but this shank has been slow-roasted forever in the oven, so that all the fat melts away and the spice-rubbed meat is rendered so soft and flavorful that a toothless guy could enjoy it. 7130 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-745-8000
1. Lamb Ribs at Kavkaz – These diminutive beauties are grilled over charcoal, and turn out way-smoky and meltingly tender at this joint that presents the food of the Caucuses Mountains. Served with raw onions and a charred tomato, these ribs are the baby sheep’s fattiest cut, hence their extreme barbecuability. Get some garlic-strewn fries alongside. 943 Coney Island Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-940-9454