With a menu that includes Italian-inspired fare from Famiglia Chiarelli and German-inspired dishes from Familie Dieterle Harold Dieterle’s The Marrow is a deeply personal restaurant. It is also deeply delicious at least based on the dish I tried, The Bone Marrow ($16) Chef Dieterle’s genius combination of uni and bone marrow with baby celery leaves, Meyer lemon aioli, and crunchy little potato cubes. The man in charge of what is surely New York City’s first Teutonic-Italian eatery took some time to answer Seven Questions as he prepped for dinner service last Friday afternoon.
The Marrow’s menu is a nod to your lineage, you’re half German and half Sicilian right?
My paternal grandmother is actually Irish but her husband was 100% German. I grew up eating two very different styles of cuisine. Half the time I’d eat very German, schnitzels, spaetzels, a lot of braises, very peasant style food. The other half of the time I would eat very southern Italian style food.
What do your folks think of the half German half Italian menu?
They love it. It’s a very personal restaurant to me. They’re very excited about it. They’re proud that this is what I decided to go with for the next place.
Why did you name the restaurant The Marrow?
A lot of our restaurants have double meanings, so The Marrow really means the center of or the best part of. It’s very much a meat-focused restaurant, so we thought it would be a fun name.
What was your first experience eating bone marrow?
It was definitely in the ’90s. Me and my Dad used to go to steakhouses a lot of the time. They take a piece of bone marrow and just cut it into a little log and put it on the side of the steak. I took a little nugget of it and put it on top of the steaik. It was pretty amazing.
Where did you learn to use chopsticks?
I first learned to use chopsticks a the CIA, Culinary Insitute of America when we had our Asian class. They called it “Oriental Cuisine,” which was still pretty offensive hopefully they’ve changed it since then. That was the first time I learned to use chopsticks I was probably 18 years old. It was an interesting situation because we had some Asian folks inside our class. A lot of people in the class when put the chopsticks in their chef’s coat. The Asian students found it very insulting.
I love bone marrow and I love uni, but I would never have thought to combine the two. How’d you come up with that?
Well, it’s a texture thing. And bone marrow needs a lot of salt. I love the salinity that the sea urchin brings to the table. Instead of just hitting it with a ton of salt which we do anyway I like the little pockets and bursts of the sea that contrasts the richness of the bone marrow.
Name three things that are always found in your home kitchen?
Some nice olive oil, good sea salt, and gin.
I hope you don’t mix those. Have you eaten out much in Queens?
A little bit. I love getting Greek food in Astoria. I like eating Thai food in Elmhurst at Chao Thai and Ayada.
What’s the last thing you ate that made an impression on good, bad, or otherwise?
I was at Degustation and I had a really nice meal. One of the dishes was some citrus fruit with some Pop Rocks. I think they were Mineola [oranges]. I thought it was cute, it was fun.