Long-anticipated Red Hook restaurant Grindhaus has finally opened, and Gothamist has photos showcasing some key dishes on the menu, which included veal heart tartare, and also the spot’s quaint farmhouse aesthetic, which includes a taxidermied horse’s head on the bar. Quaint, right?
The horse’s head in question (as seen below) appears to be stationed smack in the middle of the bar, mouth open in one final whinny. Commenters on Gothamist clearly hate it, saying things like, “im all for hipster stuff but that horse head is offensive…particularly in a restaurant” and “That horse head is disgusting. I’m not even vegan and I’m the daughter of a hunter and that thing offends me. why does it have to be like, shouting? Wtf?” And one commenter duly notes, “the taxidermy trend is pretty five years ago, too.”
But should the presence of a horse head be any more discomfiting than that of the ubiquitous deer antlers? Is the problem that deer (whether or not venison is on the menu) at least acknowledged as something that is ok to eat, while horse is widely still considered off-limits to American diners? Or is the problem that antlers have become so omnipresent that they’ve lost all impact, while the inclusion of a horse seemingly caught mid-death spiral is not something that it’s possible to write off as mere decor? And where does The Godfather fit into all of this?
It would be a shame if the food and drink at Grindhaus (which faced a five-year-delay in opening due to construction/structural/Hurricane Sandy-related problems) were overshadowed by a questionable decorating choice, and yet it’s hard not to feel a little uneasy at the prospect of eating raw organ meat that’s served in a hollowed out bone right next to a dead animal’s head. Except that, well, maybe you should feel a little bit uneasy about eating raw organ meat served out of a hollowed out animal bone no matter what the design of the restaurant you’re in is like. Maybe it’s not a bad thing to be forced to think about the choices we make when it comes to our food and the myriad implications therein. And if a taxidermied horse’s head helps you think a little more about what goes into the meal you’re eating, then that’s not a bad thing.
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