Bone Marrow at Blue Ribbon

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When people ask me, “How do you come up with stuff for your blog all the time?” I have a ready-made answer: “Camera.”

“Camera?”

“Yes,” I say. “I try to carry a camera everywhere I go” (sometimes at my own peril) “and then if I eat something notable or I stumble into somewhere notable I can take pictures and write about it later.”

Such was the case last night when I went with Diana to Blue Ribbon in the West Village. I’d been there before, I wrote about it way back when and it seemed like this would be an unbloggable experience. But then I recalled the passage in Phoebe Damrosch’s “Service Included” where she and her Per Se co-workers seek out the best bone marrow in New York and find it at Blue Ribbon.

“Diana!” I yelled, after sitting at our table. “We have to get the bone marrow.”

“Bone marrow?”

“Yes,” I continued. “It’ll make a great post and plus I hear it’s fantastic.”

“Ok,” she said. “As long as you’re paying.”

Phoebe describes the Blue Ribbon bone marrow thusly in her book: “There would be no way to improve upon the perfection that is Blue Ribbon’s bone marrow. First of all, the bones themselves are cut on both ends, meaning that, as Gabriel demonstrated with practiced ease, one could slide the little wooden fork around the marrow, loosen it, and simply lift the bone away. Left on the plate is a perfect cylinder of gently wobbling marrow waiting to be spread generously onto the thick, sweet, golden brown triangles of fresh brioche.”

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The price is steep for the bone marrow you see above–$16, appx.–and heads turned as the server placed it down before us.

“What are those bones on that table next to us?” I heard someone ask a few chairs away.

Those bones contain a treat prized by food lovers everywhere; a treat that is essentially a glob of fat, but a fat so infused with flavor it’s practically indescribable. But let me give it a go: beefy and gelatinous, creamy and gamey, buttery and insanely rich.

The glory, though, is in the triad of marrow, bread and sauce:

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The brioche, as Phoebe says, is “thick, sweet and golden,” and with just the marrow on top it’d be enough. But surrounding the marrow on the plate is a red-wine reduction sauce, enhanced with demi-glace, that joins the bread and marrow together into a sinful, blissful package.

“Wow,” said Diana, scromping down.

“I know,” I said. “I could see why this’d be somebody’s last meal.” (I’d mentioned that Bourdain wants bone marrow at his last meal, at least according to that last meal book.)

What fascinates me about the marrow is that all that flavor and goodness lives there in the middle of a bone, a bone that might otherwise easily go neglected. What does it say about the design of the universe that something so delectable is found inside the bones of a cow?

Soon the plate was swept away, I ate a salad to negate the fat and we walked off into the night, my camera loaded with another blog-worthy experience.

So carry your camera, you post-deficient bloggers. You never know when the opportunity will arise to suck the marrow out of life. When you do, though, spread it on toast. It’s much better that way.

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