- Irving Mill
116 E. 16th St., nr. Irving Pl.; 212-254-1600
Young chefs used to make their bones concocting arcane foie gras recipes and whipping up fancy French veloutés. Not anymore. Just ask Ryan Skeen, at the Union Square restaurant Irving Mill, who was nominated for a James Beard award on the strength of one dish. His inspired “charcroute” plate is a charcuterie for the Golden Age of Pork, a genius meathead dissertation on the bountiful possibilities of head-to-tail cooking. For a mere $22, this festival of fatty goodness includes two pork sausages (boudin noir and blanc), two kinds of cooked pork (glazed shoulder, melting pork belly), a rasher of deep-fried pork ribs tossed in salt and pepper, and little jellied squares of classic French-style pig’s-head terrine. Most artful of all, however, are the crispy pig’s trotters, which are deboned, rolled in a golden bread-crumb crust, and cut in dainty, eminently digestible squares, like some twisted pork addict’s version of a freshly baked brownie.