September 29, 2014

Marea, New York

Marea serves fresh, seasonal coastal Italian cuisine just a few steps away from Central Park in New York City.
It has not only received three stars from the New York Times, but also holds two Micheline stars. The restaurant has been on my list for quite a few years and I finally had the chance to stop in for dinner on a recent trip to New York. Without a reservation, I arrived at 6 p.m. on a Saturday fully expecting to sit at the bar, but was lucky enough to get a table for one in the main dining room. The open layout of the dining room allowed for a full view of fellow diners, which made the experience all the more enjoyable. The ambiance was sophisticated and warm. The wait staff was attentive, knowledgable and friendly. The dishes were beautifully presented, aromatic and delicious. Favorites were ricci, astice, fusilli and capesante. A flawless meal from start to finish.

Six course chef's tasting menu for $125 (without wine pairing)

Complimentary bread
The bread are from a local bakery, with the exception of the focaccia, which is made in house.

Thalassitis Gai'a Assyrtiko (Santorini, Greece) 2013 
This dry white wine was a nice compliment to the first three courses including the ricci.

If you ever wondered what it's like to have a foodgasm, taste this and you'll find out. The tiny piece of toast is topped with Santa Barbara sea urchin, lardo and sea salt. The combination of flavors and textures is out of this world. You may find me at the bar enjoying 12 courses of ricci the next time I'm in town. 

Assaggi de crudo
The tasting of crudo was comprised of cannolicchi - marinated razor clams, baby fennel, peperoncino; Washburn Island oyster; and tonno - bigeye tuna, oyster crema, with crispy sunchoke. Every taste was fresh and well balanced. The standout was the tuna and crispy sunchoke.

Ready for a second foodgasm? This perfectly cooked Nova Scotia lobster and creamy burrata salad is heaven on a plate. Close your eyes and enjoy the ride.

Good seafood pasta is hard to find, but Marea makes a damn good one with manila clams and calamari in a delightful broth. It's worth mentioning that all the pastas are made in house by hand.

The red wine braised octopus with bone marrow is a signature dish of the restaurant for a reason. The al dente pasta and tender octopus are coated in a glistening rich sauce topped with crispy garlic bread crumbs that tie the whole dish together. Yes, that's foodgasm number three if you're counting.

There's no way things can get better after the fusilli right? Wrong! These beautifully seared sea scallops and melt in your mouth cider braised pork cheeks end the savory courses with a bang. I never want scallops served without pork cheeks again. The aroma of the pork and cider combined with the tender sweet scallops and silky puree is intoxicating. 

Budino di ciocolato
The dark chocolate budino with olive oil and apricot sorbet was a nice way to end the meal. The tangy sorbet provided a nice balance to the rich chocolate.

240 Central Park South
New York, NY 10019

Marea on Urbanspoon

If you like Marea, check out this quick guide on Where to Eat In New York City.

No comments: