You want some good marinara, you go get it from some guy's Sicilian grandma in New Jersey. If that fails, you get it from the guy with a grandma in New Jersey. At Bones & Bits, two lifelong friends from Jersey cook up savory, rich, old-school tomato sauce stewed with bone-in lamb, pork and chicken. The pork ($8.50) falls with heart-moving tenderness off the bone, while the lamb ($9.50) is a bit tougher but still rich and moist from the sauce. The sauce garners most of its flavor, in turn, from the slow-cooked meat, rather than from zealous overspicing. As with meatballs, the three-meat combo is pivotal. It's a type of rustic, East Coast Italian food one rarely sees on this coast, let alone from a food cart.
Bones & Bits serves up a few other things rarely dished out of a cart window, including a watermelon salad ($6) with
goat cheese feta and arugula, and a lemony tuna salad ($8) that is almost all tuna, save a scattering of garbanzo and cherry tomatoes on a bed of arugula.
Still, the tuna salad was a bit perplexing: It seemed better suited as spread for bruschetta or filling for a sandwich. The polenta cake, served as a side ($4) or free with a meat dish, was a bit dry, the kiss of death to all polenta. Pasta was the preferred accompaniment, and a better sop for all that lovely sauce.
Overall, however, Bones & Bits has healthful, savory food unlike that at almost any other cart in the city, and is run speedily and with considerable warmth by its two owners. But make sure to show up early. The lamb runs out quickly, followed by the pork and then the chicken. And by 2 pm? It's a total sausage party.
- Order this: Lamb, pork or chicken, with pasta.
- Iâll pass: Polenta.
GO: Bones & Bits, Q19 pod at Northwest 19th Avenue and Quimby Street, 847-9492. 11 am-3 pm Monday-Friday. $.