Marea - mini review
in a word: amazing.
the room is very nice if a bit 80's corporate. brownish marble lines the walls and the plates, subtilely shaped like oyster shells with the name marea written on each plate, look a bit cruise-liney. other than that, no complaints.
food was some of the best i've ever had. they started my wife and i with a little amuse of raw tuna wrapped in black plum and topped with salmon roe. great way to start the meal. we then had the melenzane and zeppole snacks. the melanzane was a little ball of fried goodness filled with creamy eggplant and seppia. hot, crispy, delicious. they came 4 to an order and i wanted more. the zeppole were little dough pockets of chickpeas, seaweed and shrimp. also very good but could have been a little crispier.
as antipasti, we split the lobster with burrata and eggplant and basis and the hawaiian blue prawns with marcona almonds and dried chanterelle mushrooms. i loved the contrast between the tender lobster and creamy burrata. fantastic. but the dish of the night was easily the blue prawns. a rectangular block of raw blue prawn dressed with a touch of sea salt and topped with the nuts and mushrooms. each bite was better than the last. if you go, get this. unreal.
for our mains, i had the fusilli with braised red octopus and bone marrow and my wife had the halibut with vegetables and clams. however, before they arrived, we quickly ordered two delicious kumamato oysters. unfortunately, they came a little after our main dishes arrived, but no worries because our great waiter brought us a little prosecco to cleanse our palates. very classy and very delicious.
and that fusilli. i think a lot has been written about this dish and i do not have more to add except that this is conceivably the best pasta dish out there right now. instead of describing it, just go and order it. you will not be disappointed. unfortunately i did not get a chance to try the halibut since it was gone before i finished the fusilli. just be warned, the fusilli is a hefty portion. i wasn't able to finish it after everything we had already eaten. it would be very difficult to eat an appetizer, pasta and entree all on your own.
even though we were stuffed, we had to order dessert. i'm not usually much of a dessert guy, but the torrone ice cream sandwiched between moist, dense chocolate cakes and topped with braised cherries was mind blowing. i wish every ice cream sandwich tasted this good. the torrone ice cream was nutty, nougutty and delicious, like a creamy version of torrone you can find in stalls in italy. but that wasn't all. wish our coffees we had received 4 nice and crunchy biscotti and 4 delicious chocolates, each filled with something different. the salted caramel was my favorite.
on top of all of the amazing food, the service was impeccable, from the busboys, waiter, sommelier, to the hostesses.
i've eaten in some of the better restaurants in the city and elsewhere, and this may have been one of my favorite dining experiences i've ever had.
2 "snacks", 2 oysters, 2 antipasti, 1 pasta, 1 main, 1 dessert and 2 coffees and 1 bottle of wine with tip and tax came to about $150 each. worth every penny.