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Marco's Brooklyn

I'm wondering if any of the other hounds have tried Marco's, the new Franny's offshoot yet? We had quite a good dinner there the other night - there is good cooking going on in that kitchen and a slightly less bustling atmosphere than franny's in a comfortable room (garden is now open too).Marco's looks to be a good alternative to convivum, al di la, and their ilk for a more ambitious meal in the Slope/Prospect Hts neighborhood.
Just to note some highs and relative lows, my husband's sorrel soup was bright green and delicious - my tagliatelle with prosciutto and a goodly dose parmigiano reggiano was buttery deliciousness, deeply evocative of the E-R region - Id go back just for this dish. On the other hand, his roasted sausage dish (presumably house made sausages) were quite good but lacked any wow factor, and my roasted squid with greens and croutons, while good, came off as a little too austere - it would have been improved if the dish bit more oil to bring out the squid flavor and meld it - it essentially read as a salad. A wedge of wood roasted cabbage with honey and calabrian hot peppers was perfectly lovely on the plate and clearly executed as intended, but the cabbage was not imbued with the flavorings as it might have been.

.A very interesting selection of wines, but the prices were disappointingly high - almost 3-4x retail for similar items, Id say. The cheapest were in the 40+ range. This seems counterproductive. We drank a beer and a glass of wine respectively (no apertivi or liqueurs) and vowed that we prepare for future meals at Marco's - and we do definitely intend to go back!) with a drink at home.

Very smooth and pleasant service with some noticeably MIchelin-type flourishes (crumb removal) which made us chuckle.

Do go - Id like to hear what someother hounds think.

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  1. I've heard pretty much the same as what you post but, unlike you, that's a major reason we've not gone. We like to split a bottle of wine with dinner and, although we can afford it, it just turns me off when a place either gouges me on the wine list &/or doesn't provide enough of a range...especially given what's easily available in the area these days. Guess I'll go sooner or later...meanwhile, thanks for the report.

    1. I empathize with Steve. Few things annoy me more than looking over a wine list that is packed with the same stuff that I can pick up at my local shop at a price that's 3-4x what it costs in the shop. That Aussie red for $45 that is $12 retail and probably $6 wholesale?! If you're going to take my money, at least obfuscate the matter by having obscure wines that I can't find.The mark up doesn't feel as bad if I know I can't find the wine in every store in the neighborhood. But likewise, we will eventually make a visit and like you have a glass of beer with dinner.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bkeats

        They have taken care with the wine selection and its definitely not the same labels you would find in your local shop, but its possible to know what wines of the same general type can be had for, nonetheless. I dont like it when the very cheapest wines on a list are above our price threshhold - we would prefer to have a choice of tasty wines below 40, for a normal meal.


      2. We've been to Marco's and found it delicious, but the high wine mark-ups also deter us from going back. We have the same problem with Franny's (both the original and the new location) so we don't return as often as we would otherwise.

        I imagine we'll go back to Marco's at some point but in view of the price--with wine--we would likely save it for a special occasion or if we are entertaining someone. And actually, thinking about it, at the price point there are places I'd rather go for a special occasion.

        1. My husband and I must be the outliers- we have eaten at Marco's three times- twice for dinner and once for brunch. All three times we have been completely underwhelmed, especially for the price. The first time we went (about a month after it opened) our meal was almost $200 pre-tip and out of the 8ish plates we tried, we both only liked one.

          We are both huge fans of Franny's food (NOT the snarky hostess) and used to go about once a month, so we were really let down when Marco's failed to deliver. I will say that the service at Marco's has been pretty good, in our experience.

          1 Reply
          1. re: CarmenR

            im with you 100%...had a completely forgettable meal here a few months ago for maybe 3x the cost of my meal at frannys.

            i love frannys...including the hostesses and staff but i just found the food to be mediocre. i remember some pork entree that looked quite bare on the plate. i think theyre trying to make a more meat-centric, expensive version of frannys to make more money...which is great but not why i love frannys' food.

          2. we had a really, really great meal there about a month ago for our wedding anniversary. I remember the total being $144 for a few apps, 1 pasta, 1 main, 1 dessert and a bottle of wine. I felt we paid far less than we would have at a comparable Manhattan restaurant. related though -- the last few times we've been to Franny's, I've felt that all dishes & the beverages were a few bucks more per plate than they should have been for such a casual place.

            1. I ate there for the first time last week, and had absolutely wonderful food, and less impressive wine. I had the same dish you did -- the tagliatelle with prosciutto -- and it was fantastic. We also absolutely loved a fiddlehead fern app, and most loved the shell beans side dish. This was something of an afterthought, and was quite a humble little mush of beans, but they were phenomenally well prepared--very well infused with aromatics and spices.

              We were also underwhelmed by the wine by the glass selections. We each had an okay glass, but we were surprised at the relatively limited range.

              Still, it was such an excellent meal, especially at this season, that I will happily go back. I also appreciated the general air of competence and the calm vibe (even if not quiet) of the place.

              6 Replies
              1. re: mary shaposhnik

                glad of the good report!

                I got an email last week about a weeknight prix fixe offering at Marcos. We definitely intend to avail ourselves of it despite the wine issue. It makes me grumble when I think of how little very good wines cost in restaurants in Italy by comparison.

                1. re: jen kalb

                  that is a totally legitimate concern -- I would love some more inexpensive Italian wines to choose from!

                  1. re: jen kalb

                    If you factor in the cost of air travel those cheap italian restaurant wines dont look like quite such a good deal ;)

                    but yes, it is crazy how inflated alcohol and wine prices are here (and by here i mean specifically NYC - saw some good glasses available on a recent trip to minneapolis in the 7-10 dollar range and even cocktails at a place with a michelin star in SF a few months ago were about 60% of what id expect them to cost here)

                    i think its one of the places local restaurateurs can go to most easily squeeze out a bit more profits - they risk pricing people out if they raise menu prices but many people will still be fine paying a few bucks more per drink.

                    1. re: tex.s.toast

                      I agree with your assessment of food prices vs. drink prices. But I really don't think it's for "profit" so much as it is about "paying rent" in NYC. I'm going to take a wild stab in the dark, and say that Marco's rent is probably around $10-15K a month. It's the same sort of economics in most NYC restaurants.

                      Also, I believe alcohol is taxed differently from state to state, so that may also inflate their prices over other cities. I don't meant to be an apologist for Marco's/Franny's drink costs. They're pretty high, even compared to other places in the hood.

                      1. re: tex.s.toast

                        Im talking as you know about the amenity of enjoying wine with the meal, which is taken for granted in Italy, but evidently has to be painfully expensive here detracting from the spirit of the meal. No way I will buy more than a glass of wine in this context (sharing the last part with husband who has, let us say a higher capacity)

                        If we can drink a bottle of good say barbera di alba or dolcetto for say $15 (purchased at retail) there is NO reason why a restaurant could not offer comparably delicious wines (even a house wine) at an affordable price point, say $30. Then I wouldnt get annoyed when the wine I was served was not any better (tho three times as expensive) as what we drink every night for a lot less..

                        1. re: jen kalb

                          there is an obvious reason pointed out in egit's response to my post - which was intended to be glib and not an indictment of your sensibilities - your wine shop/importer just faces much less inflated costs of doing business and so is that much more able to offer your lower retail price. the reason you dont find low-markup wine pricing is that the margins on other products (eg food) are so bad that not capturing more profits on booze would result in non-viable businesses.

                          i agree its a shame, but its disingenuous to say there is no reason for it.

                          I can buy a super nice steak for about 20-25 dollars, why do all these restaurants feel the need to charge $100?

                  2. We ate there shortly after they opened and found the food to be really good, if unmemorable, and the prices to be really high. Plus they charged us like $6 for a little piece of bread, which seemed to be kind of bloody minded given how much the rest of the meal cost.

                    I guess I shouldn't be surprised since everything at Franny's always seems to be priced a few bucks more than it should be.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mike11217

                      yes the grilled bread that costs grr. We've run into dishes at Franny's where we simply had to have bread to mop up the juices. I can understand why they dont routinely bring out a breadbasket in Prospect Heights (although many of their Brooklyn competitors do - Convivium for example, very good & ample bread) but it ought to be possible to get some bread on request free or at a more reasonable cost. It seems to reflect an attitude about bread (not a staple accompaniment to a meal, not worthy of serving unless gussied up in the kitchen) which is outofkeeping - like the wine pricing - with the Italian cultural vibe they are striving for.