Lengua Perfecta: FIG’s Braised Tongue
Growing up, I’d sometimes have duck tongue at the really authentic Chinese restaurants in New York or Boston. I’ll generally give the sliced tongue sandwich at a new-to-me Jewish deli at least one try. And of course, living in Los Angeles, I’ve taken to using a taqueria’s tacos de lengua as a measure of how much I like the place.
So when I went to FIG for the first time a little over a week ago for their FIG at Five promotion (nearly everything 50% off, including drinks, when ordered between 5 PM and 6 PM) and saw the Braised Tongue, Tomatillo, Breakfast Radish [$12, $6 for FIG at Five] on the menu, I knew I had to try it.
Chef Ray Garcia grew up in East L.A., I presume eating his mom’s Mexican home cooking, and I’ve got to imaging him scarfing down a dish of something similar to this back home. This is simply the best lengua I’ve had.
The slices of tongue are delicate yet robust. The tomatillo has a little bit of a kick, but it sneaks up behind you after the wave of tartness, which both enhances and tempers the beefy-fattiness of the tongue, hits you first. The small portion of diced tongue evokes the tacos de lengua I’m used to having around town.
This is a dish I would order every time at FIG. The only reason why I didn’t on my second visit to FIG was because I was on a foie-finding mission. Next time I go to FIG, I will likely order all new dishes with the goal of eventually tasting everything on the menu. But I will have one repeat: Chef Garcia’s braised tongue with tomatillo. Lengua Perfecta.
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