Jonathan Gold’s 10 Best Dishes of 2011

by L.A. Weekly, Dec. 29, 2011

Roast marrowbones with prawn sambal

In a year when Los Angeles cooking came together with a coherence it probably hasn’t seen since the mid-1980s, this dish at Spice Table seemed to express everything important about local cuisine. The roast marrowbone is a touchstone of the nose-to-tail movement. Its garnish of scarlet pickled onions hints at theYucatán. Chef Bryant Ng, a Singaporean who also cooked at Pizzeria Mozza, roasts his bones in the wood fire that perfumes his downtown restaurant and glazes the marrow with a Southeast Asian paste of fermented shrimp and ground chiles that chars and crisps in the smoky heat. When you spoon the trembling marrow onto a bit of sliced baguette, garnishing it with the rau ram and a sliver of pickled onion, the taste of the leaf is sharp, almost metallic; the funk of the shrimp paste gives way to a low, throbbing chile heat; and the marrow melts on your tongue, meat yet beyond meat; a mellow, liquid bass line that makes the other flavors dance. 114 S. Central Ave., Little Tokyo. (213) 620-1840, thespicetable.com.