Bare Bones

By Hilary Merzbacher

Published on March 6, 2012

Of all the pleasures celebrated in Mei Chin's ode to bones, the luscious stuff inside a beef marrow bone may be the most irresistible. That was what Bruce and Eric Bromberg decided when they put the dish pictured here on the menu of their Blue Ribbon restaurants in New York City, back in the early 1990s. During their culinary training in Paris, the brothers had acquired a habit from their coworkers of snatching bones left over from making stock and eating the delicious marrow inside; they figured it was time to bring this cook's treat out of the kitchen. "No other restaurant was serving bones this way," Eric Bromberg recalls—the closest you might get would be the veal shank in osso buco or the bones in a meaty French pot-au-feu. The Brombergs were determined to feature bones front and center, so they chose beef femur bones—the section extending from hip to knee—which are large in diameter and contain copious marrow. "Ask your butcher for two-inch bones, center cut," Eric says. "If they're cut from the end, the marrow will be less plentiful." They soaked the bones in salt water in the refrigerator to draw out any discoloration, and then poached them on the stove top so they could keep an eye on them and plate them when the marrow had softened to just the right custardy texture. "This food is not haute," Eric says. "But we wanted to present bones in all their glory." Two decades later, their customers won't let them take the dish off the menu.

Want more SAVEUR?

Get our favorite recipes, stories, and more delivered to your inbox.