Once Upon A Sausage: Lunch with Elise & The Serious Eats Team at Biricchino

March 29, 2007 | By | COMMENTS

Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes has been reading this blog from the very beginning. She championed me on her site, way back when, and the hits came pouring in. Ever since, I’ve considered her this blog’s favorite aunt. And yet she’s been an estranged aunt: until last week, I’d never met her. But then she came to New York and invited me to join her and the Serious Eats team for lunch. We met at the Serious Eats offices and after leaping into each other’s arms, we entered a serious discussion about where we were going to eat. Ed Levine mentioned Biricchino, the restaurant half of Salumi Biellese, one of the most prominent purveyors of sausage in the United States.

“Sold!” I said and Elise said “Sold!” too which was a little awkward because I said it first and then we were out the door with Ed, Adam, Alaina and Elise ready to scarf down sausages like that woman in the Howard Stern Movie.

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Biricchino is just one of those New York places you have to love. It’s charming in a dirty hotel bar kind of way. The people there look like permanent fixtures; the room has a boozy, woozy feel. We sat near a window with sunlight streaming through the slats.

Ed, of course, knew everyone there—well the bartender and then the owner, Mark Buzzio, who experts (including Michael Ruhlman who mentions him in Charcuterie) call one of the best sausage makers in America. You can tell he’s one of the best because he’s so full of passion for his work. He started talking to us about new regulations and how off-base the government is, how they see mold growing on meat as it cures and think that means it’s rotten (it’s actually a natural part of the process.) He talked about all the hoops you have to jump through to make sausage the old fashioned way and then he got really excited talking to us about pork that he gets from this farm that’s so rich and red it looks like steak.

“Here,” he said, “I’ll bring it out.”

He brought it out and we all marveled over it.

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“Maybe we should order it,” I suggested. “I mean–since we’re here.”

So we did order it–done with garlic and mushrooms–and it was a revelation. Look at this:

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It’s truly a masterwork of meat and a STEAL at what I think was $18. We all shared from it and that was plenty.

We also shared what Mark is most famous for–platters of his cured meats:

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And, most importantly, sausage:

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Now through some weird twist of fate the other day, after eating at Mark’s place, I was home and Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie came on and guess what? There was a whole segment about Mark and his sausage and I got to see how it was done. It’s a fascinating process: it’s all done by hand. The meat is mixed by hand–with wine and spices. And then, even more impressively, it’s packed in its casing by hand. As they showed in the video, it’s a very tender process–the natural casings could explode at any moment and all the meat spills out (as happened in the segment I watched.) All the different meats are treated differently, but most of them hang for several months and it’s amazing how much liquid they lose. This is an art, a craft as difficult as any specialized area of study. Mark’s at the top of his game and isn’t it wonderful you can just pop into his place at lunch and eat his food?

Just in case you think this was an absolute meat-fest, we also ate some of these tomatoes and mozzarella:

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And I really enjoyed this Rigatoni alla Paesana, with sausage and sun-dried tomato:

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Damn, we really ate a lot of food. But it was a pleasure to get to eat so much of Mark’s food and even more of a pleasure to get to eat it with Elise. She’s a great lunch companion, so great in fact that we’re getting married:

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Just kidding. She sent me this picture taken with her camera and likened it to a New York Times wedding announcement. We do make a handsome couple, don’t we?

I can hear the words now… “With this sausage, I thee wed.”

Categories: Chelsea, Manhattan, New York, Restaurant Reviews

  • Bill

    I’ve decided to remove your site from my yahoo page. All you talk about is New York places. I live in Citrus County Florida – thought to be a sleepy little town, but with really good food if you know where to look.

    There are those of us who do not go to NY – but not regularly who would like to know about other places.

    i understant that you are writing about what you know – NY, but really, there are other places in the US where good food is prepared and served…my house and a number of good restraurants near by.

    Bill

  • m

    Adam,

    I too will have to remove my bookmark to your page. The other night I made a fantastic 3 course meal enjoyed by me and my cat (both prominent members of our respective communities), and I was disappointed to find that you had not blogged about it.

    In addition, you never review restaurants near where I live in southern North Dakota (at Hoople).

    In future, please restrict access to your blog with a login or authentication system such that your page is only accesible to New Yorkers.

    Much appreciated.

    m

  • Sonja

    Well so many opinions…

    I LOVE reading about the places you go to in NY – and I thought everybody knows that there are places everywhere in the world where there is excellent food :) Even here in Berlin where I live…

    Rock on, Adam! I really could not have a nice day without smiling about the texts you publish somewhere… I really do look forward to the book!

    ATB sonja

  • AJK

    Adam,

    I, too, have decided to remove your site from my yahoo page… I AM a New Yorker, however I make it a practice to step only on every OTHER asphalt sidewalk square. Unfortunately, you insist on blogging about restaurants with doors located on squares which I refuse to step on. For this reason, I no longer wish to read what you have to say. In fact, I think you should stop writing altogether.

  • Amity

    These comments are the best! Thanks for the laugh. :)

  • Angeline

    I was watching a House, M.D. rerun and in this episode Dr. House was teaching med students and one of them looked like you! I’ll find the episode on the internet and send it to you.

    Now tell us, have you been moonlighting as an actor?

  • http://www.elise.com/recipes Elise

    Adam, You are too funny! I would marry you, if I weren’t already promised to David Lebovitz. I’m working on my write-up today, you beat me too it. In the meantime, here is the flickr set of lunch with Serious Eats as well as what that glorious piece of Berkshire pork looked like before it was cooked.

  • http://rainydaysandsundays-c.blogspot.com/ Clare Kleinedler

    I think Bill should start his own food blog about Citrus County Florida, no?

    Thanks for the meatfest description and pics. I wonder if they will send the sausages to California?

  • Marsh

    To ‘Bill in Florida’: I believe that Olive Garden has a blog and they would be thrilled to hear about your own culinary adventures!!!!!

  • jbo

    I will pay your airfare if you go to Bill’s house and blog about what’s in his refrigerator. I’m not kidding.

  • http://tokyoastrogirl.blogspot.com/ tokyoastrogirl

    Oh Adam- you HAVE to take that offer and go to Bills! Cooking From Bills, you can call it! Poor Bill will now know you care about him and not just New Yorkers- sheesh! I mean, how DARE you not fly all over the globe making like The Take Home Chef and cooking out of other people’s kitchens?

    Oh wait- I’m a food blogger and I don’t do that either. Sorry to let you down Bill. Maybe YOU should be the one to offer buying food blogger air tickets so we cover every nook and cranny of the U.S. and not focus so selfishly on our own neighborhoods.

  • Kathleen

    Your readership is loaded with delicious personality. I love this column and the entertaining responses. Thanks for existing. Oh yeah, your content is rock solid.Thanks.

  • http://erinskitchen.blogspot.com erin

    ooohhh…i love me some homemade sausage. This place is going on the ever-expanding list of “where to eat when I move to NYC” (this fall–can’t wait!!). Thought maybe I should reconsider and try Citrus County, FL instead.

  • Roberto Jose

    Um, I live in sunny citrusy Florida and like that Adam’s excellent writing takes me some place I’ve not (yet) been. But heaven forfend as Passover approaches I loveth the piggy. Does this restaurant have a website and is (some of) their food deliverable? Roberto desde Miami

  • http://kalynskitchen.blogspot.com Kalyn

    Elise is seriously top-notch, so if you got to have lunch with her you’re a lucky man (even if she is dumping you for David, such a short engagement!)

  • zeep

    That’s it, I’m moving to the Big Apple.

  • bib

    these people are retarded. if you live in noth dakota you should move to NY anyway.

  • http://andreayaya.typepad.com/ Andrea

    The real question is, did Elise bring you any of her delicious marmelade? Trust me, it’s good.

    How I would love to visit New York city again! When I do I will for sure consult your blog first.

  • http://www.amateurgourmet.com The Amateur Gourmet

    I just want to say the comments on this post (in response to the first comment) made me fall in love all over again with my readers. Thanks for the laughs!

  • livetotravel

    One of the other really wonderful things about Biricchino is the music on their home page!

    http://www.biricchino.com/

    I may unbookmark too unless you blog more about Brooklyn – after eating Josh Grinker’s fish feast at Stone Park Cafe on Wednesday I may never leave PS again.

  • http://www.elise.com/recipes Elise

    Andrea, you spoiled the surprise! Adam is getting some of that marmalade when he gets out to San Francisco.

  • christina

    I’m taking you off my bookmarks list because none of your news or ideas are any good to me- and they’ll be even less use to me when I start college in NY this fall. I mean, really, Adam. Gosh.

  • http://www.amydusek.blogspot.com/ Amy Dusek

    I saw that segment on Diary of a Foodie too… I can’t wait to come to NY again. Biricchino is first on my list.

    And seriously Adam, how do you stay so frickin fit?! I don’t know how you do it with all the good food you eat.

  • Annie

    I can’t believe the wedding is off. It’s SO hard to return items once you’ve had them engraved…

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