I’m introducing a new occasional feature to my column. I’m putting two restaurants head-to-head with a single dish to see which one makes it better. Here’s the inaugural battle, which appeared in my column in Thursday’s Go! section of the Monterey Herald. This food fight centers on bone marrow — a dish that’s not often found on local menus, with two notable exceptions.
Round 1: Cachagua General Store (Carmel Valley)
The bone marrow appetizer ($9) is one of the staples of Mike Jones’s menu at the Monday Night Dinner foodie fete at the Cachagua General Store. The marrow is topped with wild mushrooms, making for a fatty and flavorful start to dinner.
The portion is huge — one of my friends remarked it was like a dinosaur bone coming out of the kitchen. You’ll probably want to get a second round of crostini to get all the marrow out.
Round 2: Restaurant 1833 (Monterey)
I’m pleased to see some changes to the bone marrow appetizer ($16) at Restaurant 1833. Gone is the overly sweet brioche in favor of sourdough crostini, and the marrow now comes with whole roasted garlic on the side.
The portion keeps shrinking every time I order it, but the flavors are only getting better. I love the combination of the buttery marrow, a touch of spicy horseradish, a hint of acidic lemon and the sweet garlic.
The subtle touch of lemon horseradish gave the bone marrow at Restaurant 1833 the win — albeit by a very narrow margin.