Opened last year by Chef Erwin Tjahyadi, Bone Kettle serves “original Southeast Asian dishes” in a charming space in Old Pasadena. The Astronomer and I made a last-minute reservation for dinner here on a recent #datenight. It had been a long and exhausting week, and all we desired was a “nice” dinner nearby. Bone Kettle fit the bill just right.
Prior to venturing into the growing-tastier-by-the-day Pasadena dining scene, Chef Tjahyadi launched Komodo (food truck and brick and mortar) and spent time behind the stoves at Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel Air.
As is par for the course when the two of us get together, The Astronomer and I ordered enough food for a party of four. First up were the glistening “Oxtail Tips” ($12), gnaw-worthy morsels dressed with lime, fresh chilis, Thai basil, cilantro, and deep fried yams. The meat’s intrinsic richness was balanced by the plethora of accoutrements.
We ordered a side of “Steamed White Rice” ($4) to pair with the “Oxtail Tips.” It arrived warm and topped with furikake and fried shallots.
The oxtail hits kept coming—this time in the form of dumplings ($12). The toothsome parcels filled with tender meat were served in a sweetish broth with seasonal mushrooms and leeks.
And of course I had to order the “Steak Tartare” ($14). Shrimp chips (krupuk) made for a deliciously different vehicle for the chili vinaigrette- and lemongrass-marinated St. Helen’s Ranch hanger steak.
The restaurant’s namesake bone broth was a must-order on our inaugural visit. Poured table-side, the broth is made by “boiling beef in filtered water with onions, garlic, ginger, and dried spices for 36 hours.”
The bouncy noodles and rich broth paired nicely with our meat of choice, the “Prime Fatty Brisket” ($14).
The final dish was quite possibly my favorite. The “Kobocha Gnocchi” ($19) was fabulously fruity yet savory with its smattering of chicken confit, cherries, mushrooms, kale, plum gastrique, and hazelnuts. This dish took me by surprise in the very best way.
Bone Kettle is a terrific addition to the neighborhood. We will certainly be back.
7 North Raymond Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91103
One year ago: Here’s Looking at You – Koreatown
Two years ago: State Bird Provisions – San Francisco
Three years ago: WILD at Canelé – Los Angeles (Atwater Village)
Four years ago: Bourbon Steak – Glendale
Five years ago: Hui Tou Xiang Noodles House – San Gabriel
Six years ago: A-Frame – Los Angeles (Culver City)
Seven years ago: Bacon Almond Brittle
Eight years ago: Dahlia Lounge – Seattle
Nine years ago: Taihei Restaurant – Monterey Park
Ten years ago: Augustin – Ho Chi Minh City
Eleven years ago: Reading Terminal Market – Philadelphia