In Praise of the Marrow Spoon



A few days before Christmas, I had dinner at Lorenzo's Trattoria (1933 Edwards Street). I ordered osso buco, a dish I love. Lorenzo's is very good, especially the orange gremolata scattered over it -- though there was too much of the rich sauce on the plate.

But what was most exceptional about Lorenzo's osso buco is that it came with a marrow spoon. Now, I've only been a restaurant critic for a year and a half, and I'm relatively young besides. Still, I've ordered osso buco a fair number of times in my life and in St. Louis and that was the first time I've been given a marrow spoon.

The term osso buco refers to the hole in the center of the veal shank bone. Inside this hole is the bone marrow, an incredibly rich substance that looks something like butter, something like a clove of roasted garlic. And, like both butter and roasted garlic, it's fantastic spread on good bread.

Depending on the size of the shank bone, the marrow can be very difficult or impossible to extract with standard utensils. Usually, (assuming the restaurant doesn't have a stock of marrow spoons), you have to forgo its pleasures when you order osso buco.

Anyone know of other local restaurants that serve marrow spoons? I should clarify that I don't necessarily think Lorenzo's is the only place to do so -- it's just the only one I've experienced. And I've yet to visit many of the city's older high-end Italian joints.

If you've never experienced how lovely marrow can be, Lorenzo's osso buco is a good place to start.

-Ian Froeb