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The Dish: Beef marrow with sea urchin, antler mustard, and ink toast
Where to get it: Gypsy Soul, 8296 Glass Alley, Fairfax; (703) 992-0933; gypsysoul-va.com
What it is: A giant beef bone loaded up with what Anthony Bourdain calls “God’s butter.” The marrow is served alongside delicate patties of Catalina Island sea urchin, a nest of sea grass, and antler mustard. No Dancers, Prancers, Comets, or Cupids were harmed in the making of the mustard; “antler mustard” is a cute name for West Coast mustard greens, also called red frill.
What it tastes like: The most decadent take on surf ’n’ turf to ever hit a plate. The dish is basically fat on fat—kind of like mounting avocado or foie gras atop a juicy burger. The hot buttery bone marrow paired with cool and briny sea urchin is a memorable bite and full of contrast. Sea urchin, though, is an acquired taste, because it’s kind of like fish frozen yogurt.
The story: Chef R.J. Cooper tried out several versions of the dish at his Shaw restaurant Rogue 24. He wanted to bring the modernist dish to his bright and shiny new spot in the Mosaic District.
How to eat it: Use a little spoon to scoop and spread marrow onto starkly black squid ink bread that’s been optimally toasted. Once you’ve covered every inch with mineral-rich marrow, gently drop one or two tongues of urchin on top, followed by a branch of mustard greens. When you’ve cleaned your plate (aside from the bone itself), make a beeline for the bathroom with dental floss in tow. We wonder if servers are trained to keep a straight face while talking to diners with grills studded with black bread?
Photo by Laura Hayes