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Monday, April 29, 2013

Oakland's New Marrow Does The Locavore Thing Right

Posted By on Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Grilled asparagus and beef fat french fries at Marrow. - PETE KANE
  • Pete Kane
  • Grilled asparagus and beef fat french fries at Marrow.

The first thing you notice when you enter Marrow is the backs of heads eating at the front counter. In our case, the shaved heads of four Teamster-looking dudes chowing down on lunch.

The second thing you notice is a giant sheaf of brown paper tacked to the wall, with Marrow's mission statement written out. It's the usual earnest foodie paean to local, sustainable animal slaughter, relatively new to Downtown Oakland and always nice to see.

See also: First Impressions At Tribune Tavern

Peek Inside Duende's New Casual Bodega

Heyday: Chez Panisse Alums Reinvent the Power Lunch

The butcher paper manifesto at Marrow. - PETE KANE
  • Pete Kane
  • The butcher paper manifesto at Marrow.

"Discriminating" is the keyword here. With portions this dainty, the food had better be excellent -- and it is. Classic, too: with dressed-up staples like a grilled cheese made with olive tapenade or a Reuben with housemade kraut, Marrow wants everything old to be new again.

A perfectly cooked dish of grilled Delta asparagus with shaved grana over carpaccio feels both nutritious and slightly decadent, although the soft egg felt tacked on. Beef fat fries -- hell, the joint is called "Marrow," not, say, "Watercress" -- are the shoestring kind, similar to In & Out's, only heartier. They're the kind that you don't want anyone to watch you cram into your mouth faster and faster.

Marrow is decorated in part with photos of Oakland. - PETE KANE
  • Pete Kane
  • Marrow is decorated in part with photos of Oakland.

Ringed with a wooden counter, with blown-up photos of Oakland landmarks and only two actual tables with another outside, Marrow is "masculine-cute" (except they should probably reconsider plopping the compost and recycling bins in the front window). Sit-down food comes on a paper-lined metal tray with no fuss.

As with S.F.'s Heyday, the trend towards simple, familiar lunch options freshly prepared is smartly refreshing (and probably ideal for maximum turnover). In Marrow, the locavore movement has gone in the right direction.

Marrow, 325 19th St., Oakland.

Follow @wannacyber

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About The Author

Pete Kane

Pete Kane

Pete Kane is a total gaylord who is trying to get to every national park before age 40


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