Like many diners, Calvin Hang and Iris Cherng said they were blown away by the roasted bone marrow at Bestia, a hefty bone split lengthwise and served atop a bed of spinach gnocchetti.
Later, after trying a different version of the dish in Portland, the couple decided to get into the marrow game themselves, hoping to make what’s arguably the most visceral of fine-dining dishes more easily accessible outside of restaurants.
In May, they launched the Golden Marrow with Hang’s cousin, Jacqueline Jarin, a chef at République, and her husband, Jonathan Jarin, a chef at Sari Sari Store in downtown Los Angeles.
“We want to provide bone marrow to the masses at an affordable price,” Hang says, “with a bit of a party atmosphere.”
That party atmosphere takes the form of 24-karat gold flecks sprinkled atop all of Golden Marrow’s $20 bones, which come from grass-fed beef from Premier Meat Co. in Vernon.
At the pop-up’s first tasting event this month, bones were splayed out on a custom grill welded together from oil drums.
While the marrow started to sizzle, Jarin brushed the bones with glazes he and his wife invented to highlight, complement and foil the rich, fatty smack of the beef marrow.
In contrast to the typical bisected bone simply seasoned with salt, each Golden Marrow dish is festooned with colorful produce over a base of bread, salad or pasta to soak up the excess.
Then comes the Instagram-thirsty gold dust, which glints off the dishes before merging with the hot fat, alchemizing into a golden slurry that trickles from the bone.
The day’s menu included a panzanella marrow set off by torn croutons and an acidic counterstrike of Sungold tomatoes, cucumbers, basil and balsamic glaze, and a Parmesan-topped marrow with black truffle chicken jus and Burgundy truffle shavings. Other variations have included Sichuan, Cajun and bacon jam. Guests spooned the marrow right into their mouths or scooped it into a base of buttery spaetzle, coating the egg dough in a luscious sheen.
And for dessert: an apple streusel marrow bone with dulce de leche glaze, Fuji apples and roasted brown butter, a sweet-and-savory checkerboard juxtaposing the marrow’s richness with crisp fruit and crumbly, cinnamon-tinged streusel.
The next Golden Marrow pop-ups are planned for Nov. 16 and 17 at the Jackalope arts and crafts fair in Pasadena.