The King's Meat. The Best Oxtail Ever at the Best Gastropub in Pasadena. Introducing Kings Row Gastropub. Pasadena, CA.
To paraphrase hip-hop royalty Run DMC: He's the King of Ox(tail), there is none higher. Sucker line cooks should call him "Sire"!
Normally I'm not presumptuous enough to go around consecrating people for random reasons, but the night I sank my teeth into the oxtail at Kings Row, the Oxtail Osso Bucco of my dreamiest dreams, is when I decided to bust out the crown and place it atop the head of Chef Thomas Jesse. Never trust a guy with two first names they say, not true at Kings Row, the freshly minted Pasadena gastropub. You can place all your food faith in Chef Jesse, eat up the menu and roll home, holy roller.
Fit for a king!
I do consider myself a connoisseur and lover of good tail. Yes, I do. But, oxtail in particular is a favorite because of its sumptuous patches of flavorful flesh rendered succulent by slow and low cooking that melts the fat and collagen which then intermingles beautifully in seasonings and spices and ultimately peels off the tailbone with the gentlest of tugs. That's why I love oxtail.
I was practically raised on Chinese Braised Oxtail and its lively anise, ginger, garlic and Xiaoxing wine flavors. Cuban Rabo Encendido or "tail on fire" is another oxtail dish I can't go for more than a month without indulging in: picking up with my hands, tearing at the tender beef saturated in a spicy, tomato-based marinade, gnawing at the hidden bits of meat and tendon, then siphoning up the jumbled juices representing every element in the creation of this perfect entree.
The Oxtail Osso Bucco at Kings Row is an absolute object of carnivore worship. First of all, the cut of oxtail itself dwarfs any other I've ever devoured — practically double the circumference of the average oxtail and as thick as a brick in the Kings Row wall. The meat smothers the bone with its sheer mass. It's an oxtail even a caveman would appreciate.
Some restaurants and markets sell oxtail in its natural form of thickest at the base and thinnest at the tip. Many, however, have uniform cuts of the tail, obviously only securing the choicest section for their customers.
Kings Row serves two enormous oxtail cuts (both roughly the same size) in bourguignon on a cushion of mashed potatoes, turned carrots and potatoes. The deep red wine flavor brightens and heightens everything the oxtail has to offer. Braised with tender loving care, you'll be loving every tender bite. It's a rustic and luxurious dish at the same time and simply a pleasure to eat.
By royal order of His Majesty the King, go get thyself some tail ASAP!
KINGS ROW GASTROPUB
20 E. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91105