Review: In Old Pasadena, Jonathan Gold Finds a Third-Date Place with Plenty of Bone Broth to Take Home

The LATimes' reviewer visits Bone Kettle
Bone Kettle
Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Bone Kettle noodles and broth with beef ribs.

The first time you try Bone Kettle, Erwin Tjahyadi’s new proto-Indonesian restaurant in Pasadena, you may spend a certain amount of time figuring out what to do with the leftovers, which will be substantial.

Crunchy wisps of meat from fried oxtail tips would probably be nice with fried noodles, or even stirred cold the next morning into Bone Kettle’s gently flavored crab fried rice. The bouncy gnocchi made from purple yams, tossed with duck meat and dried apricot, are a little bland at the restaurant but might improve with a bit of chile sauce and a quick run under a broiler. The quart of organic, grass-fed bone broth left over from a few orders of the main course? It’s meant for congee, obviously, simmered with a handful or two of cooked rice the next morning until it coalesces into porridge.

We are here, I think, to talk about that broth. Well-made bone broth tends to be milky instead of pale, thick instead of limpid, and slightly touched with the sharp, calciferous reek of the abattoir. Bone broths of different sorts are at the base of tonkotsu ramen and Korean seolleongtang, Malaysian bak kut teh and Vietnamese pho. Clarified bone broth forms the backbone of most of the French mother sauces.

Find out why you shouldn't roll your eyes at bone broth anymore.


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