Sherman's Food Adventures: Straight & Marrow

Straight & Marrow

Originally, I was supposed to dine at Straight & Marrow back in early January.  Well, just like I mentioned in my Carlino post, Omnicron happened and we didn't end up going.  However, we didn't forget about our postponed reservations.  So when we got the chance, we made another rez and made our way to a location that used to house Bistro Wagon Rouge.  It is an intimate spot with a nice bar and a limited amount of seats.  For those who don't know, Straight & Marrow are known for their share plates featuring less popular meats and cuts (such as offal).  Hey that is right up my alley and we were excited to try as many dishes as possible.

Since I was not with Mijune and Viv isn't the biggest eater, we settled on 8 dishes, which was short about 5 of trying the entire menu.  Where is Mijune when you one needs her???  Anyways, we started with the Octopus Carpaccio which featured thinly sliced braised octopus loaf with peppercress, bone marrow confit tomatoes and smoked paprika aioli.  Loved the texture of the octopus as it was tender yet still possessing an appealing chew.  The smoky paprika in the aioli provided depth while the pops of tomato added a luxurious tang (due to the fattiness of the bone marrow).

We were presented next with the Chicken Oyster Kyiv with garlic purée, tabouleh salad, tomato shio koji aioli, watermelon radish and brown butter powder.  Crispy and light, the best part of the chicken (as mentioned in the movie Amélie) was tender and buttery.  I'm not normally into raving about a tabouleh salad but this one was so bright and well-seasoned, I wished there was more of it.  Really enjoyed the take on the dish by using a brown butter powder rather than straight up butter.  Also, that aioli was so complex with subtle notes and umaminess.

Now one of the stealthily good dishes was the Eggplant Parm "Double Down" which is a take on the KFC sandwich.  Rather than 2 fried chicken breasts, we found breaded eggplant sandwiching torched halloumi cheese, basil and marinara.  This was great texturally and tastewise.  Loved the crunch giving way to delicate eggplant and the classic squishy texture of halloumi.  A bit of smokiness from the torching and the side of marinara added moisture and more tanginess.  Yum!

There was one daily feature and I ended up ordering it because it was the Lamb Sweetbreads (due to the fact I love lamb AND sweetbreads...).  This was served with fried cauliflower, cucumber, romesco sauce, watermelon radish and cashews.  I could definitely taste the lamb in the tender sweetbreads.  They were properly prepared (as in soaked enough so they were buttery tender and no membrane still attached).  I thought the romesco complimented the sweetbreads with an aromatic nuttiness and background tang.   The fried cauliflower was nicely crunchy and a bit smoky while the crunch from the other veggies added texture.

Alright, our favourite dish of the meal was the Squidtzel where they subbed in squid and prepared it like a schnitzel.  The humboldt squid was super tender while still having a bouncy bite.  I found the nicely browned breading to be buttery and crunchy.  Underneath, there was a squid ink scallop spätzle (yes made of pureed scallop) which was soft and squishy (in a good way).  The whole thing was brought together by a sweet and savoury uni demi.  I would eat this dish all day.

Now a close second would be the Rabbit Gnocchi with lardons, brussels sprouts and brown butter butternut squash purée  Pillowy soft and almost creamy, the house-made gnocchi still had a light chew and a perfectly seared exterior.  Strewn throughout, the house-cured rabbit confit was tender with a bite.  Beyond the textures, everything was seasoned properly.  To top it off figuratively and literally, the purée was smooth and creamy with a natural sweetness complimented by the aromatic nuttiness of the brown butter.

Of course I ordered the other lamb dish in the Braised Lamb Neck with tomato potato “risotto”, anchovy breadcrumbs and castelvetrano gremolata remoulade.  Oh that braised lamb was so tender and fatty, it merely melted in my mouth.  The braising liquid was flavourful and hence the lamb as well.  I thought the whimsical take on risotto by employing little cubes of potato flavoured with tomato was genius.  Texture of the potato was still firm on the outside, but fully cooked and tender enough.  The remoulade added a salty tangy creaminess to the already rich lamb which to me, emulated a richer and more impactful tzatziki (due to the use of mayo rather than yogurt).

Onto dessert, there was only one item I would choose which was the Hoof Wing and Fin Mille Feuille sporting puff pastry topped with chicken liver mousse, fish sauce caramel and duck fat icing sugar.  Okay if you read the description carefully, you would realize that this would ultimately be a combination of savoury elements with sweetness.  I thought it worked beautifully where things were balanced.  The chicken liver mousse was there but it did not overwhelm the dessert portion of the dish.  Also, the fish sauce was restrained so that there was a little salty something something to go with the sweet caramel.  Puff pastry was light and crispy with defined layers while the richness of the icing sugar completed the creation.  I gotta say, this was one impressive meal and I really have nothing but praise for the execution of some creative dishes.  I definitely will return

The Good:
- Creative dishes
- Well-execution of these dishes
- Reasonable pricing

The Bad:
- Limited seating


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