Bones has soul.
It’s the first and most important thing I want you to know about it.
The food is incredible and crave-worthy, and I’ll get to that in a minute, but I can get good food a lot of places.
That soul comes from Executive Chef John DePierro and also his relationship with his Sous Chef, Sweet Michael [Nevarez], as he’s called.
They make a good team – you can tell there’s a genuine respect between them, while also a playfulness – easily observed in the open kitchen.
In an open kitchen, the presence of the chefs and cooks becomes part of the experience, unlike when they’re in kitchens that are hidden away.
This is why true generosity of spirit must be present.
It would be too off-putting to the guest otherwise.
With an Italian father, and a Puerto Rican mother, Chef John [Johnny, as he’s known in the industry, and which I was encouraged to call him] comes from a family that knows food.
That he grew up to become a chef isn’t a surprise, and I can see the passion he carries from both of those cultures, to his work.
Recently, he spent his Saturday plowing through a pile of books on food with titles like, Maximum Flavor and D.O.M Rediscovering Brazilian Ingredients.
He knows a lot and also continues to push himself to learn.
When I was there, with a knit hat cocked to the side, like a beret, Chef Johnny looked like an artist.
He also has a reputation as being one of the kindest guys in the business, and you can’t have soul without kindness.
I’ve heard that Bonanno gives his chefs creative freedom is his/their kitchens, and this is evident at Bones.
Chef sent out a confit octopus whose presentation and flavor was so stunning, it is one of those dishes I will never forget.
The squid ink splattered plate looked like a Pollock painting.
The tender, while firm, quarter-sized medallions of octopus, along with oyster mushrooms, Korean pepper and orcha greens, was moving.
The Brussels sprouts were just as they should be: tender, with a browned crunch on the outside.
We all know that brown = delicious.
I enjoyed the beet salad, and especially loved the plating.
Justified left on a white porcelain plate, it was pretty and lively.
Fresh, local beets, thinly sliced carrots and greens, it served as a refreshing romp between the other rich dishes.
The lobster ramen is nothing less than a work of art.
Made with a beurre blanc broth, and gorgeous, generous chunks of lobster, I don’t exaggerate to say this; I fell in love and reverie with it.
It’s difficult to upstage lobster, and it is definitely a big player, but that broth.
Perfected over time, no doubt, that kind of flavor doesn’t just happen.
With shelled edamame and green onion, along with the ramen noodles, it’s all you need in a bowl.
And perhaps in life.
Ok, let’s not go quite that far.
701 Grant Street