To get a Saturday evening table in this two Michelin Star restaurant I had to book 4 weeks in advance.!!
I had high hopes of fabulous food and was not disappointed at all. We were greeted warmly on arrival and we got a great table in the middle of the room.
As we expected they were very busy with a high turnover on the tables. Watching the staff change the table as soon as the customers had left was like watching a well practiced dance routine. The staff almost glided in and everything was cleared and the table re-set up in under 2 minutes.
Our waitress - Elisabet, was charming, very smily and helpful. She swiftly arranged a glass of champagne and a beer which were quickly followed by a chef's amuse bounce of grilled mackerel.
This was followed quite rapidly by an offering from the bread basket. The sourdough and the wholewheat were good breads, but the foccacia was simply delicious. I think it had rosemary and lemon olive oil. It was hard to stop myself from having a second piece but I knew I had to save space for some fabulous food that was on its way....
We ordered the set 4 course menu for $99, which for a 2 star restaurant is a great price. I had the conchiglie - dish of cockles clams mussels and oysters on bread which was amazing. I could of eaten a huge bowl of this. It was fresh and light in flavour and quite simple in terms of the ingredients, but everything worked beautifully together.
Next I had the fusilli - red wine braised octopus and bone marrow. I had read about this being one of their signature dishes and I can see why. It was quite possible one of the best dishes I have ever eaten. I would return just to have this dish.
My main dish was the grilled sea scallops, which were perfect, in both flavour and how they were cooked, however they followed a real winner of a dish and didn't stand much chance to shine.....
My husband had the mixed oysters which he loved, the gnochetti, which was ruby red shrimp with chillies and rosemary and then the spada which was a grilled swordfish. He loved everything he had but admitted that the octopus in red wine was the winning dish of the evening.
Lastly we both had the Tiramisu dessert. It was light and tasty, nothing amazing but I'm not really a dessert girl. Had I not been so full of good tasty food I might of opted for the cheese plate, but I just needed a taste of something a little sweet.... that being said I still managed to eat it all !!
As we left we were given a wrapped muffin for breakfast. Such a nice touch and a great way to keep Marea in the thoughts of their diners.
The whole evening was an amazing journey of flavours and fresh perfectly prepared food. I would highly recommend a visit to Marea, as soon as you book flights start looking out for a table !!
Marea 240 Central Park South NYC 10019.
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