I had been reading about the opening of The Marrow, Harold Dieterle‘s newest restaurant after the success of his other NYC spots, Perilla and Kin Shop. Mike and I actually visited Perilla very early in our relationship, and it was one of the first “celebrity chef” restaurants we went to. He was excited to take me there after watching Chef Harold win Top Chef Season 1, and I had not yet started watching the wonder that is Top Chef (like I said, it was early!) After that, I started watching the show and we soon found ourselves to be the Top Chef sluts that we now are.
I really loved our meal at Perilla, and we keep talking about how we need to visit Kin Shop (though I’m nervous it may be tough with my allergy to enjoy the way it’s meant to be enjoyed). I was very excited about this opening and was hoping we could find a reservation sometime in the next 2 weeks during the holiday. Mike called and was told that, unfortunately, they were closed on Christmas Eve but they had an opening THAT NIGHT at 8:30. So we excitedly went to opening night.
When we go to an opening night, or even opening month, I always feel a little bad reviewing the restaurant. I am fascinated by what it takes to open a restaurant (as you know from the “A Restaurant is Born” section) and know that it must be so hard to get to Opening Night. There are bound to be kinks and issues with service, food, and just about everything else. But it is also fun to get a first peak into something so special.
We arrived a bit early, and the hostesses seemed a bit nervous that they didn’t immediately have a spot for us. They had us wait a bit and then recommended we go to the bar. The bar is quite small, and the table next to it leaves very little room to stand. We had to keep moving around to allow the servers to get through with food. If (or rather, WHEN) this restaurant gets packed, it will be tough to keep chairs at the table by the bar. But that was probably the worst kink we saw all night. That, alone, is impressive.
The cocktail list had a good amount of drinks that sounded great but were like nothing I had ever heard. I ordered the Miss Roberts’ Cobbler (cognac, red jacket cider, apple butter, pimento dram) and Mike got the Oh Tannenbaum (pine infused gin, clear creek douglas fir eau de vie, lavender and lime). I really enjoyed mine, especially the apple butter taste. Mike wasn’t as crazy about his, but it was interesting.
As soon as our drinks were in hand, our table was ready. I sat along the window with a perfect view into the kitchen, which was left open with a window of its own for kitchen voyeurs just like me.
The restaurant itself is kind of small but you only notice when people try to pass each other in between the tables. The ceilings are high and it uses light wood beams and some vintage style wallpaper in a simple style. A nice aesthetic.
When we read the menu, I was concerned. There were just too many things I wanted to try! (Tough life… I know) The full menu is at the end of this post if you’re curious (since I haven’t found it posted yet). The menu was split up in a really neat way. Since the theme of the restaurant draws from the chef’s German and Italian heritage, the menu was split in two for his two families.
We decided to try one item from the Meat Plates section, one from each side of the Starters (one for each family), and an entree.
From the Meat Plates section, we got the Kobe Short Rib Crudo with aged anchovy extract. It was a nice, delicate flavor and the anchovy added a wonderful salt flavor. It didn’t blow me away, but I’m glad we tried it.
Next, from the Famiglia Chiarelli section, we tried the bone marrow, which came with sea urchin, fried potatoes, meyer lemon aioli and baby celery greens. We really loved this. The bone marrow and sea urchin went surprisingly well together, with that similar texture but completely different flavors. The marrow’s richness was also nicely cut with the lemon aioli. The fried potatoes were like teeny tiny little nuggets of crispiness, which was the perfect texture with the rest of the ingredients. Everything here just blended nicely and the well toasted bread was perfect with it.
Then from the Familie Dieterle section, we tried the Badische Schupfnudeln. This insane mouthful of German words translated to braised rabbit, beet greens, tarragon & creamy Riesling sauce. (I learned rabbit as hasenpfeffer, but I guess that is specific to stew… thank you Google). Sadly, this was our least favorite dish. A whole bunch of mostly mushy things together. We keep ordering rabbit, trying to like it, but I think it’s time we give up. It’s just not my favorite. It’s too soft, too little flavor… so many other meats I prefer. This dish needed something crispy or crunchy or just something to break up the texture a bit. The flavor was fine, but it just seemed pretty flat to me.
We had to try the pan fried duck schnitzel off the Mains section. It came with quark spaetzle, hazelnuts, cucumber-potato salad and stewed wolfberries. My background is German/Austrian/Russian, so this fell right into the food I consider being akin with my family. My grandmother made awesome schnitzel so I have very high schnitzel standards.
This absolutely didn’t disappoint. The duck gave it a bit of a twist without losing the best parts about the schnitzel… the thinly pounded meat, the crispy breading, and the rich flavors. The spaetzle with hazelnuts was especially great since it was toasted. And the wolfberries (I want to know what a raw wolfberry tastes like now!) were really excellent adding a hint of sweetness to the dish. The freshness from the cucumber really added to things and it all was just perfect together. It was also a very nice portion (everything was, truly) so there was plenty to split.
And the best part of splitting everything? Room for dessert!
Mike decided he wanted to try some cheese off their great cheese menu. 3 cheeses for $10 is nicely priced, so we went for it.
The excellent toasted bread was back, and it came with a really nice honey and a date/nut cake (maybe? the server wasn’t positive). We tried the Toma Walser, Challerhocker, and Chiriboga Blue. I really liked the Challerhocker. It had great bite and went really well with the sweet partners.
And I chose the Apple Hand Pie for dessert.
We asked what quark was, and our waiter compared it to buttermilk in that it is sweet and creamy with a tiny bit of a bite. The pie was very good, with a perfect crunch of the dough and nice sugared top. The apples could have been more plenty (or maybe thicker cut) but the flavors were really nice. I also really enjoyed the caramel sauce.
At the end of our meal, a fellow diner came up to all the tables and mentioned that the Chef was going to come out soon and we should all greet him accordingly. A standing ovation quickly followed, and the chef grew very bashful and ran right back into the kitchen. It was a very sweet moment.
We really enjoyed our meal and we were excited to be able to dine there on opening night. I can’t say it was a top meal of 2012, but it was a solid meal and Mike and I agreed that it would be absolutely worth returning to try more. The schnitzel was certainly the stand out dish, followed directly by the bone marrow. I would skip the rabbit and the crudo if I were to return, but I’m glad we tried both. Can’t wait to try more!
Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10
The Menu on December 21, 2012:
Waygu Bresaola 10
Foie Gras Mousse w/ gooseberry 7
Light Sauerbraten Lamb Ribs w/ fried garlic 13
Kobe Short Rib Crudo w/ aged anchovy extract 14
Prociutto Wrapped Dates w/ gorgonzola & saba 6
Housemade Weisswurst w/ apple butter 6
SKILLET-BRAISED CUTTLEFISH- Garlic bread, guanciale & white wine 14
HAND-CUT FETTUCCINI- Pork and sage sausage, acorn squash & baked parmesan 12
BURRATA SALAD FOR TWO- Giardiniera, grilled bread, EVOO, balsamic 26
THE BONE MARROW- Sea urchin, fried potatoes, meyer lemon aioli & baby celery greens 15
BRAISED DUCK & PRETZEL DUMPLING SOUP- Beech mushrooms, kale & marjoram 13
BABY RED OAK & LADY APPLE SALAD- Cambozola blue cheese & spiced pumpkin seed vinaigrette 12
BADISCHE SCHUPFNUDELN- Braised rabbit, beet greens, tarragon & creamy Riesling sauce 15
PICKLED HERRING SALAD- Roasted baby beets, horseradish cream, pistachios & baby arugula 14
GRILLED GAME HEN- Fennel, fried salami & brussels sprouts panzanella 24
BRAISED BEEF BRISKET “BRACIOLE”- House ground polenta, escarole, pecorino & red sauce 25
ROASTED WHOLE HEN OF THE WOODS MUSHROOM- Cardoon-creamed kale, crispy onions & truffled mushroom jus 26
SAUTEED STONE BASS “VITELLO TOMATO”- Fingerling potatoes, cippolini onions, olives, sweet breads & tuna belly sauce 30
GRILLED WAYGU CULOTTE STEAK- Cauliflower gratin, watercress & beerenauslese vinaigrette 33
PAN-FRIED DUCK SCHNITZEL- Quark spaetzle, hazelnuts, cucumber-potato salad & stewed wolfberries 28
JUNIPER BRAISED LAMB NECK- Rutabaga puree, whole roasted carrots & red sauerkraut 23
PAN-ROASTED SCOTTISH SALMON- Cabbage, pastrami & warm mustard sauce 25
BAMBOO RICE RISOTTO- Leek puree, steamed egg & parmesan 14
GRILLED BABY ROMAINE LETTUCE- Pecorino & warm lemon-anchovy vinaigrette 10
MASHED STUMPF- Snipped chives 10
DRY AGED BEEF FAT FRIED POTATOES- Pickled red onion & grains of paradise aioli 10