“Bone broth,” the modern rebranding of plain old long-simmered stock, continues to rear its hot, murky head in New York City. We don’t begrudge Hearth chef/owner Marco Canora — proprietor of Brodo, an East Village bone-broth takeout stall — for making publicized changes to his lifestyle and promoting the robust flavors and purported benefits of broth, but when the Italian chef teamed up with restaurateur and ice cream kingpin Nick Morgenstern on a flavored-broth project, we were skeptical, to say the least.
Now that the weather’s finally caught up with the season, we stopped by Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream (2 Rivington Street, 212-209-7684) to gulp some of the wild and soupy creations.
Canora recently overhauled Hearth, his twelve-year-old restaurant, and Morgenstern also owns hot downtown commodities GG’s and El Rey. In preparation for colder temps, the two Gramercy Tavern alums joined forces to offer broth from a takeout window at Morgenstern’s retro Lower East Side parlor. The sipping soups will be available through March and include Brodo signatures like the BBC ($8.25 per ten-ounce cup), with beef stock, bone marrow, and chiles, and Marco’s namesake elixir ($7.50 per ten-ounce cup) — the most palatable of the three my group tasted — which relies on a heavy dose of ginger and turmeric to bolster “Hearth broth,” a mixture of turkey, chicken, and beef stocks.
Left over from the season of yuletide, the What Came First unfortunately came lukewarm when we tasted it, and the chicken broth thickened with egg yolk was missing the nutmeg that Canora intended. The pallid slurry was supposed to evoke eggnog, but our reaction to it was roughly that of countenancing the prospect of holiday travel. With prices from $6.25 to $12 (for a full sixteen ounces of the BBC broth), these chunkless soups aren’t cheap — something we debated at length.
Another festive reference, the Saint Nicholas ($7.75 for ten ounces) muddies together beef broth, bitter chocolate, and coconut milk. Not nearly creamy enough to conjure hot cocoa, nor savory enough to register as soup, this drinkable quagmire confounded us. We’d liken it to the kind of challenging flavors we miss now that wd~50 is history. But like Wylie Dufresne’s pizza pebbles, this is one of those interesting — but not necessarily successful — experiments. Still, at nearly $8 a cup, it’s hard not to want to finish it just to get your money’s worth.
If you simply must get your broth on this winter, we’d recommend sticking to the classics.