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Loco moco, a plate of ground beef patties, rice, eggs, and gravy, is one of the ultimate Hawaiian comfort foods. That classic dish is getting a unique twist, though, as a restaurant is subbing the patties out for lengua, or beef tongue.
This Lengua Loco Moco was crafted by chef Nikko Marquez at The Recess Room in Fountain Valley, CA. His take holds true to most components of the Hawaiian classic, but swaps out the traditional patties for braised beef tongue.
The lengua takes 3 days to make, starting with a brine of salt, brown sugar, black pepper, coriander, soy sauce, parsley, thyme, chile de arbol, bay leave, and garlic. That marinates overnight before it’s braised, cooled overnight, and then seared on day 3 to get a crunch on the outside.
For the actual plate, Marquez starts with a 24-hour beef demi-glace, and layers on cipollini onions, slices of the beef tongue, pickled cucumbers, and rice seasoned with togarashi and furikake. The dish is topped off with another slice of lengua, a crispy seasoned fried egg, green onion, and nori.
The dish is paired with a cocktail featuring Nankai Shochu called the Ohana. The flavors of Nankai’s shochu, caramelized pineapple, vanilla, lime, rum, and blackstrap bitters balance perfectly with the richness of the loco moco.
Marquez’s Lengua Loco Moco paired with the Ohana headline a new menu now running at Recess that features dishes paired with Nankai Shochu cocktails. In total, there are 4 drinks and 8 dishes in this lineup, with two dishes pairing as a “course” with each individual drink.
The full list of pairings is as follows:
Chicken Fried Mushrooms - maitake mushroom, Louisiana hot sauce, house buttermilk sauce
Wagyu “Poke” Tartare - American wagyu beef, shoyu, sesame oil, togarashi, Okinawa potato chips
Paired With: The Olive Garden - Avocado infused Shochu, olive brine, salt, celery
Grilled Persimmon - avocado, fish sauce vinaigrette, shiso, sesame, coriander
Lengua Loco Moco - Braise Beef Tongue, furikake rice, veal Demi - glace, quick pickled cucumbers, crunchy fried egg
Paired With: The Ohana – Caramelized pineapple, vanilla, Rum, lime, Shochu, black strap bitter
Pork Belly Smoky Risotto - Bulgar wheat risotto, smoked dashi, delicata squash, cumin carrot puree, pickled mustard seed
Bone Marrow Mac n Cheese with a Shochu Bone Marrow Luge Shot - Bacon jam, mozzarella, Swiss, cheddar, gruyere, white parmesan
Paired With: The Xocolate - Shochu, Sherry, Porto wine, Campari & xocolatl mole
Duck Confit Noodles - Chinese five spice cured duck leg, soba noodles, bok choy, scorched rice tea
Cowboy Steak - American Wagyu Bone-in Ribeye, ponzu butter, charred red onion, grilled cabbage, crispy potatoes
Paired With: The Ugly Duckling - Sesame seed-infused Shochu, cold brew, orange juice, clove, lemon & nutmeg
If you’re interested in trying the Lengua Loco Moco, the Ohana, or any of the other creative dishes and Nankai Shochu cocktails on The Recess Room’s limited-edition menu, they’ll be around for the next month.
Created in partnership with Nankai Shochu.