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Marea or Juni

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  • tada May 14, 2014 04:46 PM
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I have my 10 year anniversary coming up and am looking for recommendations.

I have reservations at Juni and Marea and not sure which to choose. We tried Le Bernardin, but I thought they were 30 days and they were already booked when I called on the 9th since they start taking reservations on first of month the month before.

We've done Daniel, EMP, Per Se, etc. One of our faves recently was Aquavit.

I've read mixed reviews about Marea from cold staff to salty food. Haven't read much about Juni except that Hergatt has kicked it up a notch.

Greatful for all opinions.

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  1. While I've never been to Marea, I've been to Juni twice, and loved both dinners. Biggest problem was having to narrow my choices to only 6 courses. Service is very nice. Chef Hergatt's cuisine is very creative and delicious. Too bad Juni isn't getting too much attention.

    1. Both are great, but for different reasons and because of that offer different experiences.

      Juni is more avant-garde in both style and culinary execution; while Marea is more staid and traditional in comparison (and not in a negative way).

      If we were to talk cars, it would be like choosing between a Mercedes S-Class versus a Tesla Model S. Both fine automobiles in their own right, which you prefer really just depends on your mood and style of travel.

      3 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        Well, I'm a BMW guy :).

        It's sounding like the food will be good at both. Which is a more comfortable atmosphere to just talk and have a few good laughs about the memories?

        1. re: tada

          Ok, then it's i8 versus 750i.

          Like you said, both will be good but if you are looking for comfy then I think Juni might be the better option. The room at Marea, especially during peak dining hours, can be rather lively. Not loud but certainly not as serene as I've found Juni's atmosphere to be. At Juni ask to be seated near the back or for a booth table.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            I haven't been to Juni, but Marea felt super-corporate-cum-old-money to me the time I went (yeah, only once; I was not nearly as impressed as I was with its sister restaurant, Ai Fiori, which could have been a fluke, but there it is).

      2. Marea is wonderful. I have had only professional staff..not chatty unless you initiate. Maybe that would strike someone as cold,but I see it as unobtrusive. I've never had a dish there that was too salty. Their classic fusilli with octopus and marrow belongs on any list of NYC classics. All pastas are out of this world. We always order the whole fish as a second course--spigolo or turbot.

        1. Happy Anniversary! I welcome others to chime in here, but I always cringe a bit when I read posts from Chowhounds who are holding two reservations at the same time, with the intention of cancelling one. It just seems as if it would be more considerate to other diners if those Chowhounds would decide before booking simultaneous reservations. I'm thinking about a number of times I've tried to book a table at a place a month in advance and found they were already fully booked. Wonder how many of those reservations would subsequently be canceled.

          Just my two cents. Interested in hearing where others stand on this issue.

          3 Replies
          1. re: famdoc

            I agree with you 100% and think that this topic would merit a thread of its own. I remember posts where the OP mentions two, or even three, choices for multiple nights.
            Much better to decide beforehand and book one reservation per night. Inconsiderate to say the least, to do otherwise.

            1. re: famdoc

              I understand the concern, and if both were impossible to get into (e.g. Having EMP and Brooklyn fare) at the same time, I would have done it well ahead of time.

              That being said, both showed tons of availability on opentable so I held on to them for an extra day. There just now happens to be one more opening at Marea

              1. re: tada

                Enjoy Juni! look forward to your report since I plan to return soon and am interested to read about the new menu.

            2. I think Juni and Marea are very different so it shouldn't be too hard to make a decision once you review all the suggestions here. And yes, CHers (including myself) have gotten a lot touchier about people holding multiple reservations so the sooner you make your decision the better.

              Of the places on your "we've done" list, Marea is closest to Daniel. A large restaurant that does 200+ covers a night, it'll have a good buzz, with an emphasis on getting you fed really well (the prix fixe is suggested rather than a tasting menu), but not necessarily trying to impress you with inventions in gastronomy.

              Juni, on the other hand, is smaller and quieter. The dining room is a lot less colorful (literally and figuratively). Hergatt really tries to wow with both the plating and the flavor combinations, and the emphasis is on the full tasting menu.

              It really depends what you value more. In terms of food, the food at Juni has a higher ceiling to impress, but obviously that comes with risk. Marea is more consistent in terms of a great meal rather than a special meal, and the suggestion would be to focus on their pastas and whole fish rather than fish entrees. Another way to put it is that I think Juni tries to be a 3 Michelin star restaurant food-wise (not saying whether it will succeed or not) while I don't think Marea necessarily has that kind of ambition.

              1. Just based on your recent nod to Aquavit, I'd lean towards Juni more. As others have mentioned, the food is more avant garde, and flavors and cooking techniques definitely "push the envelope" more than what you'd find at Marea. I've found the ambiance to be a little more relaxing and less stuffy as well.

                That being said, Marea does the classics very well, and their pastas are still some of the best I've tried in New York. If you enjoy seafood significantly more than other proteins, it might be a better choice.

                5 Replies
                1. re: kokoro

                  Well, just canceled Juni as well. With the 7 day out cancellation policy, I was able to get a reservation at Blanca in Bushwick. Have heard great things and have always wanted to try one of these "what you get is what you get and you don't get upset" sort of places.

                  1. re: tada

                    Sorry to inform you but Blanca was my most disappointing meal for all of 2013. Big mistake to cancel Juni in favor of Blanca.

                    1. re: ellenost

                      I read your review and it seemed to stand out as one of the exceptions, not the rule. That being said, I am sure that it will still be a blast and I'm looking forward to the kitchen table experience.

                      1. re: tada

                        Very glad that we did Blanca. The experience was awesome. The food was amazing, the service was top notch, and have to love the ability to play Master of Puppets during dinner.

                        Some amazing plates were glass shrimp with grapefruit and poppy seeds, the andouille sausage ravioli, the duck, the fluke with lime and edible flowers, the wagyu, the king crab legs...

                        The dish that took the night for us was a japanese sweet potato. They cooked it to perfection and served it with a sauce that was to die for. Overall it was amazing. When they were preparing it, I thought it was beef of some sort, but was happily surprised. The tasting consisted heavily of veggies when we went and you could tell that they were at their freshest.

                        1. re: tada

                          Nice to hear that Blanca has improved. Still won't waste my time or $ on it again when there are so many better restaurants at which to dine.