142 W. 65th St., nr. Broadway; 212-359-6500
Cook what you like and they will come” is the cry of today’s savvy chef, and what Jonathan Benno likes is tripe. He likes it for lunch, he likes it for dinner, and he likes it for breakfast too. “If I see it on a menu, I go for it,” he says. In short, the man has never met a cow stomach he didn’t like. Sadly, the opera fans and theater buffs who frequent his restaurant do not share his passion. So Benno puts the peasanty protein on the menu only when he can’t control his own desire for it. Each time, he changes it up. The latest version, trippa brasata, is the honeycomb variety mingled with housemade chorizo, chickpeas, and San Marzano tomatoes. It’s braised for four hours into a rich and melty stew. You can get it at brunch with two sunny-side-up eggs. And the funny thing is that skeptics, when persuaded to try it, go crazy for the stuff. If the dish went by some clever name like Mario Batali’s old translation of lardo as “prosciutto bianco,” the Upper West Side would be crawling with tripe addicts.