What I’m Loving
There is Marrow on the menu at Harold Dieterle’s new West Village eatery, of course. It comes roasted and topped with sea urchin, teeny nibbles of fried potatoes, a few wisps of micro celery greens, and a drizzle of meyer lemon aioli. Looking for a light bite? Consider eating elsewhere. But if you’re looking for some heart-warming (or stopping) cooking to cozy up to this winter, The Marrow has quite a few terrific options. Perhaps you’d be interested in the hand-cut Fettucini with Pork and Sage Sausage or the Pan-Fried Duck Schnitzel with Quark Spaetzle, Stewed Wolfberries and a Cucumber-Potato Salad? And just what are Fettucini and Schnitzel doing on the same menu? Dieterle’s newest venture was uniquely inspired by both his Italian and German roots, so expect the food to follow suit. That means dishes as dichotomous as Baccala Gnudi with Pine Nuts and Raisins, and Juniper-Braised Lamb Neck with Red Sauerkraut.
Harold Dieterle doesn’t do typical or traditional. He’s been cooking to “his own tune” since he won the first season of Top Chef and subsequently opened Perilla, a neighborhood restaurant, loyal to no country in particular back in 2007. It was there he wowed us with Thai basil-laced Duck Meatballs with Purple Yam Gnocchi, capped off with a runny Quail Egg Yolk. His next move was unexpeted, a very modern Thai joint named Kin Shop where the Red Curry with the Duck Breast is served rather untraditionally on the side, and there’s lots of novel dishes, including Brisket-Stuffed Squid Ink Soup. To Dieterle’s credit, he seems much less concerned with landing the next TV show than opening restaurants with interesting concepts. And more importantly, his food just keeps getting better, too.
The Down Low on The German-Italian Menu
Braised Duck with Huckblerry Jus
I’m still thinking about the Braised Rabbit & Pretzel Dumpling Soup I ate at The Marrow three days ago. It’s a super soothing bowl that puts Chicken & Matzoh Ball Soup to shame (and I’m Jewish so I can say that!). The broth itself is delicate and sweet with juicy shreds of Rabbit, Kale, and Beech mushrooms, as well as Pretzel Dumplings, reminiscent of miniature matzoh balls, floating on the surface. The menu is divided into Meat Plates, Starters, and Mains with one side of the starters dedicated to Italian (Famiglia Chiarelli) and the other to German (Familie Dieterle). We ordered a Starter from the German Side, an appetizer of Braised Duck with a wonderfully crispy skin that gives way to meltingly rich meat. It’s accented with vibrant, slightly bitter shavings of Watermelon Radish and an amply spiced Huckleberry Jus, which does wonders in cutting the richness of the duck.
Dieterle seems to have a thing for braising right now. And he’s quite good at it, as evidenced by his Skillet-Braised Cuttlefish (from the Italian side), which is achingly tender, mingled with fatty nubs of guanciale, halved cherry tomatoes, in a white wine sauce. It’s served on a hunk of Garlic Bread, lending the dish a crusty boost. If you feel like gnawing on a rib or two, try the Lamb Ribs (another appetizer as decadent and hearty as an entree from the German side), which get “sauerbratened” — that’s German for marinated in vinegar & spices — before being cooked. The result is a crusty, deliciously fatty lamb rib, offset by the vinegar and a caraway-inflected yogurt drizzled on the plate. The Wagyu Culotte (top sirloin cap) steak isn’t braised. It’s grilled to a glorious medium rare and sliced super thin, accompanied by a so-so Cauliflower Gratin and a small Watercress Salad with Pickled Onions, dressed in a Beernauslese (late harvest white wine) Vinaigrette. While the gratin was underwhelming, the salad was the perfect match for the thinly sliced steak. (I’m hoping he does a Steak Salad version when The Marrow opens for lunch!)
The Marrow’s Ginger Stout Cake
You won’t be hungry for dessert, but you should order it anyway. Especially the sweet and spicy Ginger Stout Cake with Roasted Pears and Honey Ice Cream. There’s also an Apple Hand Pie that looks a lot like an “uptown version” of a McDonald’s Apple Fritter, studded with sea salt, and sided by a homemade Quark (Fresh Cheese) Ice Cream. Housed in a space that was formerly Paris Commune, The Marrow is decidedly warm and simple. It’s furbished with wood floors, red curved banquettes and a dining room window where you can watch what’s going on in the kitchen. What’s going on in the kitchen? Harold Dieterle is firing on all cylinders and that’s all you need to know.