Marea-Any Must Haves?
I'm going this week and the menu is HUGE! Any must have dishes?
I went there last week, everyone in my party did the four course tasting menu which I would not recommend. The pastas were all much stronger than the secondi. The astice was excellent, just an expertly constructed dish. It tasted kind of like how I would want a lobster roll to taste.
The fusilli was excellent as well, one of those dishes that gets better with each bite.
the tortelli which is their lobster pasta dish was also superb, the trout roe is a great addition to the dish.
We ordered oysters for the table as well and these were excellent despite the old month with r adage.
The ricci was good and is an interesting dish that you should get if you like uni but to be completely honest it did not wow me. I have had much better sea urchin elsewhere but I could have had an not that good piece.
For the secondi, most of them were just sort of mediocre and to me not really worth the price. The one winner on the table was the ippoglosso (halibut). the morels and the peas are a good earthy combo with the fish.
I also got a trio of the crudi. I was pretty excited for this but nothing was really that amazing but I could just be spoiled from eating excellent sushi. The other issue was the portion sizes. I got sardine and there were just two minuscule pieces. It was a bit disappointing as was the jack mackeral with rhubarb and duck prosciutto. The rhubarb overwhelmed everything and totally obscured the fish and the prosciutto (which was so small that it was barely there).
In the end there were some hits and misses. If I were to be back I would do the meal a la carte.
If you're doing the four course menu, the restaurant will let you substitute a second pasta for your entree selection, and the portion of that pasta will be much larger than the primi pasta selection. I did this last time I was there because everyone in my large group was doing the $89 menu and I knew that I wanted to focus on their pastas which I agree outshines the secondi
The fusilli is hugely popular, to me it was tasty enough but the tomato sauce overwhelmed the flavors of octopus and marrow. The agnolotti was a WOW though. It's not clearly stated on the menu, but if you order the 4-course prix-fixe (it's not a "tasting menu") you can order one of the fish with a choice of sauces and sides as your main course, instead of the dishes listed as mains on the prix-fixe. We had dover sole and it was excellent. If not for that (dover sole is always very expensive) I would have considered $89 rather steep for the quality.
here's a point system of everything i tried:
astice lobster burrata-9 (really good), ricci (2 crackers with sea urchin and lard)-7, vongole (geoduck)-4.5 (really small serving), fusulli-8.5, spagetti sea urchin-6, veal sweetbreads agnolotti-7.5, bistecca-6 (really good croutons steak is soso), affogato-8 (good gelato), gianduja-6 (chocolate cake and gelato with cocoa nibbles), and panna cotta-4. im copying and pasting this from a post I made before. I wouldnt order anything below 7.5, i think i generally dont like sea urchin so you should probably overlook my rating of dishes that included them. I also wouldnt order oysters here too, although they're fine, but i've had better (aguagrill, oyster bar, keens, etc).
here are other recs
the only dishes i would try again are the astice and affogato. youre right the menu is huge, so there should be other hits somewhere in the menu. i would try something that sounds good to you, hopefully it's a hit.
This was discussed in this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7101...
as for my thoughts again:
The really must-have dishes from my few visits are no longer on the menu, which is sad and also why I haven't been back in quite a while, despite Marea being my second favorite restaurant in 2009 behind Eleven Madison Park.
Of what remains, I agree with everything in hcbk's post. If you must have a secondi, I think the brodetto is a good choice also.
Eleven Madison Park
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The Astice and Fusilli are both great dishes at Marea. I would definitely get those two as part of your meal. The Affogato is also a great way to end the meal, which I thought was much better than Maialino's and considerably better than Convivio's. The crudi is also quite good, and might be worth a try as well if you want something lighter to start off, but I would go with something else personally.
Where are you? Obviously you have already been there, and others are still making recommendations obviously not having read your post. What did you have and how did you like it?