Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Every once in awhile, I get the privilege of going to a really nice that serves multiple courses and requires my special occasion dresses to be dug out of the closet. As a belated birthday dinner, I chose to go Marea, one of the most talked about restaurants this year. It was exquisite to say the least. Perfect lighting and noise level. Wonderful service--not overbearing or spotty. And of course, delicious food.

I really liked the tableware. I don't think I've ever admired a restaurant's plates, but these were beautiful.

An amuse bouche of watermelon gazpacho was sent out from the kitchen as we sat down. It was a bit too cold and acidic for my liking. And like any other shot I'm forced to take, too much liquid!

From the antipasti, I chose jumbo lump crab, figs, duck prosciutto and fromaggio bianco on puff pastry. It was really good. One of the standouts of the entire dinner.

There was an impressive list of crudo on the menu. I chose Alaskan spot prawns with lemon and black lava salt simply because I rarely eat raw prawns and I knew this was a good place to try it.

All of the pastas sounded good so it was hard to choose a couple. The fusilli with red wine braised octopus and bone marrow stood out because of the bone marrow. It's hard not to order a dish with bone marrow. The octopus was super tender and the pasta cooked perfectly.

I loved this dish. Spaghetti with crab, santa barbara sea urchin and basil was unusual and amazing. The sea urchin made it so creamy.

By this course, I was already pretty full but when the grilled Creekstone Farms 50 day dry aged sirloin with bone marrow panzanella came out, I suddenly was hungry again. I don't eat steak often but this was one of the best steaks I've had. It was juicy and flavorful. I ate all 12 ounces.

From the fish dishes, the grilled mediterranean cuttlefish, braised escarole, taggia olives, livornese sauce, wild oregano sounded the most interesting. It was the first time I've had cuttlefish whole and grilled. Pretty tasty.

Spiced rice pudding, poached stone fruits, amaretti crumble, plum sorbet. This sounded better than it tasted.

Caramel custard, Valrhona chocolate cake, caramel crispies, buttermilk sherbet. This was pretty good but not amazing.

Despite the lackluster desserts, I still think highly of Marea. The prix fixe meal was a lot of food. I think if I go back here, I'd stick with the crudo, antipasti and pastas.

Restaurants mentioned:
240 Central Park South
New York, NY 10019

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