|Marvelous marrow at Mona Restaurant & Bar|
As a countdown to the Best of the Twin Cities 2013, coming April 17, the Hot Dish is serving up 50 of our favorite local dishes.
How did we make it nearly halfway through this list without a single mention of bone marrow? Perhaps it sounds a little intimidating (or like it should be part of the diet of a scavenging animal more than a modern human being), but not only is the richly flavored, vaguely spongy matter delicious when roasted, it's also a common component of many dishes you probably already eat on the regular. For example, bone marrow is a key part of a successful ossobuco, and it's the base of traditional Vietnamese pho.
If you've never had bone marrow on its own, it's buttery and sweet - almost like a very smooth, very fatty pate. Mona Restaurant and Bar's chef and owner Lisa Hanson makes it into a wonderfully sophisticated small plate by taking a cue from French cuisine.
To make this small plate, Hanson butchers beef bones into sections and roasts them low and slow until the marrow is soft, spreadable, and ready to be coaxed out by a diminutive wooden spoon. Its concentrated, meaty essence is offset by sweet raisin toast and a thick homemade apple butter -- though that prep has recently changed to an (equally good, we're sure) assemblage of spiced soda bread and white port pear butter. If you've never had bone marrow before and want your first experience to be both reliable and noncommittal (the portion is only $7 and just big enough for two people to have two tastes), Mona is the place to go. Be sure to check out the wine list while you're there too.
333 S. 7th St., Minneapolis, MN