Hot Plate

Make Mine the Special
Some restaurant specials are more special than others. At Brennan's, diners who opt for chef Carl Walker's daily offerings often end up with the best food in the house. Walker has an almost uncanny affinity for shanks: witness his extraordinary winter-time lamb shanks braised with vegetables. Or his latest lunch-hour triumph du jour -- veal osso bucco in a clever mock-cassoulet sauce of black-eyed peas. The meat falls apart on the bone; the marrow makes you remember how thrilling excess can be; the sauce, with its faint sweetness and depth, is pure uptown soul. Bonus: pasta tossed with deliciously bitterish greens. Snap this one up; you won't be sorry.

It is worth noting, too, that Brennan's daily salads are perennially interesting (beware the soups du jour, however, which run to overly thick cream varieties put to shame by the restaurant's classic turtle soup). Even the dessert du jour can merit attention -- especially a meticulously layered carrot cake that is the Mercedes-Benz of its ilk. Special? And then some.

-- Alison Cook

Brennan's, 3300 Smith, 522-9711.


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