Saturday, May 28, 2011

Marea....A Great Seafood Restaurant in NYC

Nestled right by Columbus Circle near the Time Warner Center, Marea is known for being one of the best seafood restaurants in NYC.  From reading various reviews online, the way to go is to get the four course menu for $90 a person...starting with an appetizer, oyster dish, or crudo, a pasta course, an entree course, and then of course, dessert.  You can check out the extensive seafood menu HERE.  I took my brother here for his birthday and we both thoroughly enjoyed the meal.

Outside of the tasting menu, we also ordered the Ricci, which combines sea urchin, a sliver of lardo (cured pork fat), sea salt, on top of a crostini.  While this sounds unbelievable and has been featured on Anthony Bourdain No Reservations, ordering this would've been a must.  While texture wise the dish was incredibly silky and the sea urchin was fresh, the sea urchin plus fat combo just made it a bit too rich.  It felt like it needed a bit citrus to cut through the fat.

First Course
For the first course we ordered the Astice, which features lobster on top of creamy burrata cheese, eggplant al funghetto, and basil.  This dish was just amazing and the creamy and fluffy burrata and lobster actually makes for an amazing pairing, actually, though cheese doesn't often work well when paired with seafood.

We also ordered the salt cod stuffed calamari, with grilled polenta, capers, pine nuts, and cherry tomatoes.  Holy moly this was another amazing dish.  Everything on the dish went together so well and the presentation was stunning.

Pasta Course
The past courses were the courses that stole the show at Marea for us.   First, we HAD to order the much heralded house made fusili with octopus and bone marrow.  The verdict?  This pasta dish was awesome...the fusili was cooked perfectly al dente, and the addition of chunks of melty bone marrow just takes it to another level in terms of taste and texture.

As good as the fusili was, the house made spaghetti with crab and sea urchin sauce was (to me) even more luxurious and amazing.   This is my favorite dish of the night and one of the best tasting dishes I've had in a while.

Entree Course
For the entree course I ordered the bass with roasted eggplant, fava, grilled ramps, and apricot mostarda.  While this dish was solid, the tastes were fairly familiar as far as fish entrees go and similar to others that I've had at say...L'Ecole.  

My brother ordered the 50-day old dry aged sirloin.  Man this dish was good and the steak was very tender. It's served atop of braised romaine and some great bone marrow panzanella (think the fluffiest, crispiest croutons saturated with melted bone marrow...YUM!).

Dessert Course
To be honest I really wasn't expecting too much from the desserts but I ended up being completely blown away from both desserts that we ordered.  Both were also among the best tasting desserts I've had.  First, I ordered the chocolate ganache, amaretto cream, and coffee gelato.  The choclate was velvety but not overwhelming, and the coffee and amaretto flavors were also very pronounced.

Second, my brother ordered the white chocolate honey mouse, with pine nuts, grapefruit sorbet, and basil.  Oh man this was yet another amazing dessert.   The soft mousse was encased in a sugar/honey crust and was topped with a tart grapefruit sorbet that served as a great counterpoint.  One of the best desserts ever!  

After the dessert, we also received some delish petit fours...two cake type items and two chocolates.  These tasted great as well and was a very good way to cap a memorable meal!

You can also check out some of the dishes from Marea when it was featured in Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations:  The Food Porn 2 episode.  

240 Central Park South
New York, NY 10019-1457
(212) 582-5100

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