I recently went to Marea in New York City for the first time, after reading excellent reviews of and hearing tremendous things about Chef Michael White‘s restaurant. Upon arriving, I noticed the restaurant’s ocean atmosphere, resembling the deck of a yacht with a sleek and modern design. This suits the restaurant’s strong emphasis on seafood. Various elements including red lamps and conch shells add a certain pop to the clean setting. The walls are paneled with polished wood and the carpet is dark, creating an elegant atmosphere and indicating the high-quality meal to be enjoyed.
Our waitress handed out the menus, took the orders and left us. Marea offers an excellent prix fixe menu including a primo and second for $47. We were served bread (I had olive focaccia, which was fantastic), and we waited for our meal.
The primi arrived. I had the ‘assaggio di tre’ which featured, three raw options of my choosing. Each was phenomenal, though I just wish the portion was larger… It was a taste, quite literally in the sense of the word.
I was left with a desire for more excellent seafood.I was eagerly awaiting the fusilli, a dish I had been craving for several years since I first read about the restaurant. I cannot put it any other way than saying the pasta was absolutely exquisite. At first bite, I noticed how perfect the fusilli were: they bit back and tasted of proper pasta. The sauce was phenomenal. It was made with red wine braised octopus cooked perfectly, making it so tender. The bone marrow added a delicate, well-balanced fatty element to the dish, scattered throughout and finding itself on my fork when needed. As I ate, I could feel my expectations of seafood rise above my head like a bubble dancing to the surface of the sea. Upon leaving, we were given a small, fist-sized cake that resembled pannetore, although without the fruit, and topped with sugar crystals. I devoured it the next morning for breakfast.
I left Marea as a very happy boy, with a full stomach and a big smile on my face.
This was a superb meal, and I look forward to returning to Marea in the future.