If you’ve eaten at Bones, you’ll second that nomination.
Don’t get me wrong – Osteria Marco was very tasty, and I’m sure that Bonanno’s other restaurants are equally lovely. But my goodness, the food at Bones is absolutely beautiful. The concept, the ambiance, and the food itself – it’s all beautiful.
The room itself is tiny. Ignore all the tables and sit at the bar to watch the chefs expertly prepare noodles, stocks and garnishes. It can’t be easy working under such scrutiny, but they manage to do it while making occasional chit-chat with the customers.
Egg rolls are such a cliche, but who can resist the prospect of deep-fried packets of braised beef short rib? The plate of three egg rolls arrives piping hot and neatly tucked in a napkin, served with fragrant hot sauce. The beef is tender and flavourful and nestled amongst al dente cabbage and rice noodles.
The dungeness crab soba is served cold, as it should be – though the waiter will ask if you’re okay with that. The soba noodles are perfectly cooked and tossed with a generous portion of bright, fresh crab. The dish is rounded out by paper-thin slices of asparagus (tossed in an acidic vinaigrette – the effect is almost like they’re pickled) and artichoke hearts (oily and sweet). The dish has a slight kick to it, and just the right amount of acidity to be refreshing but not sharp.
But oh. Oh! The lobster miso ramen. This is not the ramen of your starving student days. This is ramen shipped directly from Japan, cooked until al dente, and then kissed with generous chunks of perfectly cooked lobster. The ramen-lobster mixture is treated to a bath in miso-lobster broth and garnished with edamame beans. The tasty, buttery noodles are shockingly delicious on their own, but consider that the broth is simultaneously sweet, rich, salty and creamy. The edamame beans provide the umami, or meatiness to round out the flavour profile. And I haven’t even talked about the luscious lobster meat. It’s an exercise in food architecture – an ideal dish with a deliberate flavour profile. Even better, it plays with your expectations, combining ramen (food of the poor) with lobster (food of the affluent).
Lobster ramen. Who would have thought?
701 Grant Street