Anyone been to Marco yet for RW?
OK, went last night - had the gorgonzola stuffed figs w/ prosciutto, grilled salmon w/ avocado, cucumber & radish salad and the bread pudding. Two of my DC's had the same app and one had the zucchini blossoms. Of the figs and zucchini, I liked the zucchini better although both were very good. Two had the truffle & mushroom risotto and were not pleased, the other had the ravioli and "liked" it, my salmon was perfect although not a whole lot to eat. The risotto was cooked improperly or something - no creamy consistency, looked like regular, long grain rice, very strange.
The bread pudding dessert was very good as well.
I was happy enough to try it again during non-RW.
I went with a fellow hound (FH) last night; my overall impression was of a place trying to get through restaurant week with a minimum of effort and expense, rather than trying to show itself off to new diners, which is too bad, given the positive reviews of their food the rest of the year.
I should say that we had the bad luck to get a really unseasoned waiter -- well-meaning, but really not ready for prime time. From what we could see at other tables, most of the other wait staff were considerably more assured. Although part of the service issue seemed built-in -- both the room and the menu have a trattoria vibe, which made it weird and intrusive for the waiter to be continually reaching over to refill our water (from the bottle on the table) and top off wine glasses. It seemed like he had been instructed to keep our water and wine glasses filled at all times, and by god he was *determined* to fulfill that mission! But then when my FH wanted a second quartino of wine he kept avoiding eye contact. Anyway, on to the chow.
They brought focaccia and a dish of caponata, which were both fine, and some olive oil for dipping, which was almost completely tasteless. If this was extra-virgin, those were some sad olives that were pressed. Lame.
For appetizers we got the gorgonzola-stuffed, prosciutto-wrapped figs with balsamic glaze, and the sausage-stuffed mushrooms. The figs were good -- slightly warmed, ham crisped, cheese melted. Simple and good. The mushrooms were tasty, although the pool of oil in the baking dish they came in wasn't terribly appetizing. I had sort of hoped to get the zucchini blossoms mentioned on the online RW menu, but they weren't on the actual menu -- our res. was for 9:00, so they might have run out. I was also a little disappointed that they didn't feature any of their house-cured meats, since that sounds like one of the most appealing items on their regular menu. Oh well, more economizing.
For mains, I got the pork milanese and FH got the chicken and pork sausage (accurately if not poetically described by the waiter as "uh, one pork sausage, and one chicken sausage, and some onions and peppers and cherry peppers, and, uh, that's it.")
[I don't mean to beat up on the waiter -- he was certainly doing his best, but he was clearly being broken in during RW. Which is understandable, but he just wasn't ready yet to provide the kind of service the place expects to provide -- which is neither fair to him nor to his tables.]
I liked the milanese a lot -- pork pounded thin and pan-fried to golden brown and crispy outside, tender inside, with a lightly dressed arugula and tomato salad with shaved grana cheese on top. FH tasted it and was put off by an oily off-taste, but I didn't detect that, so I was happy with it.
The flavor of the sausages was fine, but they either were over-cooked, too finely-ground, or just never had enough fat in them to start with, so they ended up kind of dry and crumbly. The sauteed onions and peppers helped to add a little moisture, but it's just not that hard to grind a great sausage.
We skipped the contorni -- none looked exciting enough to merit the $6 supplement.
Dessert was entertaining, though not in a good way. We'd had to order it along with our apps and mains, which I've only experienced at places that actually cook the dessert to order during the meal. Here the choices were rum gelato, pistachio biscotti, bread pudding with vanilla ice cream, and cheesecake (which "is an extra two dollars, because it's AWESOME" said the waiter). I got biscotti, FH got rum gelato. Well, except that when it arrived, it tasted really REALLY similar to french vanilla (breyer's? haagen-dazs?? not sure). When we finally flagged down the host, he was dubious but said he'd check on it. What, we can't tell the difference between rum gelato and vanilla ice cream??
The waiter, who was right behind him, got points for saying that they might have given us the ice cream that was meant to go on the bread pudding. Which was exactly what had happened. Host brought out a dish of rum gelato, along with apologies. Not a big deal, obviously, but kind of a ditzy mistake when you've already got a pretty simple dessert menu.
Biscotti were fine, although served dusted with confectioner's sugar. Huh? And with a little dollop of cannoli cream (nice) and some really terrible, bitter raspberries. When it is the very height of local raspberry season, this is unforgivably lame.
So overall, I absolutely wouldn't recommend Marco for restaurant week. If I go back during the rest of the year it'll be for some of that house-cured salumi and because reviews suggest that they're capable of much better food and service. But there are a lot of places that I'd try first, starting with those that either take RW as an opportunity to show off, or that don't participate because they don't want to compromise their standards.
I was FH. Can't add much to the review except that Marco managed to do exactly what the bad RW examples do -- chintz out on the food, bring in the second string on the service, and turn off repeat diners in the process. It's a shame -- I like the room, I love the idea of house-cured salumi, but this felt like a diss. I won't be back.
Yikes. I actually cancelled my Marco rez, which I had made for last Sunday. Missykin's review didn't seem all that impressive and their online menu didn't wow me, so I decided to postpone my visit for a non-RW meal. Sounds like it was a good move. Thanks for taking one for the team guys.