"My Signature Dish" is a new CTbites column featuring a rotating cast of chefs, and the dishes that define their cooking style, or simply make them happy to fire up the oven.
We looked forward to learning about what Scott Ostrander had chosen as his signature dish at Mama’s Boy in SoNo, a Connecticut restaurant featuring Southern cooking and cuisine. But he was reluctant to tell us much about it. “We’re dealing with some major issues,” he confided. “Trying to dodge disaster.”
Issues. Disasters. Great. The stuff of a good story. We urged him on. But Chef Ostrander demurred. “I just can’t get into it right now,” he apologized.
The next time we met, the chef was all smiles. Problems solved. Scott shared the back story, one that reveals how a gifted chef deals with and solves both business and culinary challenges.
His new signature dish at Mama’s Boy is Crisp Pork Shank, an osso bucca-like braised pork shank with a dramatic Southern twist. Traditionally, slowly simmered meat is tender, juicy, and deeply flavored. But its soft texture is monochromatic. For his shank, Scott wanted contrapuntal textures. Soft. And Crunchy.