These little gems are a regular on chef Katie Brown Ardington’s starter menu and sometimes creep onto a tasting menu. They’re always crisped and always creamy. Her sweetbreads’ plate mates are dictated by the season. In summer, they’re paired with pickled daisy buds and roasted strawberries, puréed parsnip sauce (with the added nuttiness of spent grains from Kichesippi beer), and mustard seeds popped in mead. But I’ve had them with young pickled strawberries, with sunflower seed and mint pesto, with parmesan fondue, fava beans, toasted almonds, and caper berries. Any way you slice them, you don’t leave Beckta without some thymus gland. Beckta Dining & Wine, 150 Elgin St., 613-238-7063.
El Camino’s ox tongue tacos
Unlikely to factor in a list of Top Ten Cuts, but tongue in the hands of the good folk at El Camino should not be overlooked. Braised long to break it down, grilled with a bit of char, then tarted up with a smoky sauce made with dried Mexican chilies, the sliced meat is stuffed into El Camino’s soft taco shells with amigos avocado, radish, rings of jalapeno, cilantro, and some lime for squeezing over. I’m tongue-tied trying to find the words to describe how yummy are these little packages. But if there’s no bloody way you’re putting a cow’s tongue on yours, the pulled pork tacos are fine too. El Camino, 380 Elgin St., 613-422-2800.
Supply and Demand’s squid ink rigatoni
This dish was first served with sea urchin and octopus, way back in 2013. But lately, and for a while now, chef Steve Wall has been mixing it up with meatballs fashioned from tuna and prosciutto. The long tubes of hand-cut pasta, coloured blue-black with squid ink and subtly brine-flavoured, came all tangled up in a San Marzano tomato sauce flavoured with lobster stock and fennel, as well as torn mint, some citrus, bird’s-eye chili, and then those balls of umami wonder. Toasted oiled-up breadcrumbs elevated the texture. You can order the dish as a small or a large plate. But if you opt for small, you’ll be ordering another round, so best go big. Supply and Demand Foods & Raw Bar, 1335 Wellington St. W., 613-680-2949.