Everyone should love beef tongue. Folks get turned off by the whole tongue-of-a-cow thing, but it's rich and flavorful and lacks the pungent kick of, say, liver or kidney. Pork belly is having a moment, but the less flashy beef tongue has plenty to offer. For an especially approachable rendition, I love the Grilled Beef Tongue ($10) at Dot's Delicatessen in Fremont.
Dot's is a charcuterie, fully engaged in the art of meat. An array of house-made sausages and pâtés, house-cured bacon, and locally farmed meats are available from the case. The menu features all this and more, with bistro favorites like duck confit and steak frites sharing the page with a list of sandwiches to keep any carnivore happy for a long time.
But we're talking tongue here. Starting with grass-fed beef from Painted Hills Farm in Oregon, the tongue is cured like corned beef in a mixture of salt, sugar and spices. Grilled and sliced paper-thin, the result is meltingly tender, lightly spiced, and just plain delicious. Dot's knows something about decadence too, pairing the tongue with horseradish créme fraiche, which is exactly as rich as it sounds. A simple arugula (or, in my case, watercress) salad dressed with olive oil and lemon juice foils the fat. I've got a lot to say about other meats too, but for now, just try the tongue.