Freemans chef Michael Citarella has unveiled new brunch, dessert, and dinner menus, and there’s a debut item on the latter: Warm octopus and beef tongue with a salad of fennel and celery. Octopus paired with beef tongue? Quite an inspired combination! But devotees of Prune may recognize the unusual combo from past Valentine’s menus — Gabrielle Hamilton calls it “tongue and pussy.” She tells us she came up with the pairing years ago strictly for amusement — “you have to make the tongue and pussy joke” — and was surprised to hear it was on the Freemans menu (Hamilton used celery in hers last year also, saying she wanted to pair “bright sparkly stuff” like green olives with the richness of the tongue).
Apparently these sorts of coincidences (?) happen to the chef often. “It just happened at lunch today,” she says. “Someone said some place in Brooklyn had like four things we do.” As if to throw such imitators for a loop, Hamilton is going all-out for this year’s fully booked Valentine’s dinner (something like 48 people are on the waiting list) — she’s offering six menus based on romantic reminiscences (one of them, for instance, is titled “West Yarmouth Mini Golf Arcade, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, 1988”). It’s unknown whether past lovers will get priority seating.
Update: Michael Citarella assures us he wasn’t aware of Prune’s dish and explains his own: “I was inspired by the ingredients, as they are two of my favorites and thought they would create a fun take on surf & turf. I played with different ingredients for the salad and decided a simple salad of shaved fennel and celery would complement the tongue and octopus best, both texturally and flavor-wise.”