For my first entry ever, I am writing this five minutes after I had accomplished the challenge of consuming this mammoth of a meat dish (a considerable giant for casual dining standards in town).
Yep. Now, while writing, I’m wishing for this brew, if it were possible, to aid in melting the cholesterol away. I need all the help I can get.
You must think by now that Carnivore’s trademark Chop and Marrow is a culprit that should top the diet danger chart. Maybe. But on the contrary, I would rather put it on a most wanted list; a must-try meat dish in the city that needs to be experienced.
If you’re the type who orders a “Meat Lovers” option off the menu of your favorite pizza joint, then trying out the Chop and Marrow is a passage rite.
The Chop and Marrow is an inch-thick pork chop that’s coated with Carnivore’s house rub then paired with a Kitayama beef bone marrow. It is served with vegetables of the day. (Kitayama, considered one of the best in the country, refers to locally bred wagyu cattle from Mt. Kitanglad in Bukidnon).
As soon as the plate arrived on my table (it takes about 10-15 mins to prepare), I knew I should have heeded the label on the menu that stated that the Chop and Marrow was “for sharing.” It was not that I feared I couldn’t finish the whole dish. It was my conscience—the angel of diet—making a rare appearance after being dormant for quite some time now.
I sliced on, knife and all. And my first impression: this was pretty much a great, straight up, pure pork chop that was absolutely tender. It was prepared just right; the rub paired quite well. The flavors did not steal from the pork chop’s spotlight but rather edified it. It wasn’t smothered with some sweet glaze or pesto (but I am very much open to trying out pork chops of that nature) but I was glad I ordered a side salad to go with it (greens, onions and tomatoes with a basil vinaigrette dressing) and a bowl of mashed potatoes. (An order of Chop and Marrow includes your choice of sides: rice, fries or mashed potatoes.)
I almost forgot about the marrow. It was, perhaps, the most bold and blatant serving of bone marrow I have had in my entire life.
I took my fork, plunged it deep into the bone and got my first mouthful. It immediately reminded me of pork brains—which I consider a delicacy—but this one a notch less mushy. It had hints of salt too that did the marrow perfectly well. I’ve had marrow before, especially with pochero. But with this dish, the best way to approach it is to pair each slice of pork chop with a slather of marrow, spreading the fat.
Three-fourths into my dish and I was already looking to the finish line like how an unprepared runner takes on a 10K fun run. The marrow now, started to remind me ofbalut (boiled fertilized duck egg)—in a good yet, confusing way. Maybe the marrow has begun to play tricks with my head. But, I still took a good serving with every morsel of pork chop that I buried under my teeth. Because simply put, it was good. (And I just got my results from the office’s annual physical exam stating that all my blood levels were normal: green light!)
I stayed through the meat course, bite after bite, alternating with the greens like it was my bowl of penance for every sinful slice. And soon enough I finished what was on my square plate, wanting to hoist it like a gold medal. Alas, victorious. Soon after, the waitress took my trophy away to the dishwasher.
For me, this dish is a winner. Like I said, it’s not “too” flavorful with all the gravy or pesto that we are used to having with our pork chops. But this one relies on precise culinary technique, a mighty good rub, a lots of tasty marrow, easily making it one of Carnivore’s masterpieces.
But if I would come back a second time (I think I definitely will!), I will know better than to ignore the label: “For Sharing.” But that’s just me.
UPDATE: I came back and did not heed my own warning. No ragrets.
= = =
Carnivore is located at The Gallery, Mabolo, Cebu City and is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
*Story published Dec. 2015