I have been so busy between work and school lately, this post is seriously overdue – this meal occurred on Monday, August 6. Sorry for the delay, but now on to the food!
Marea, the crown jewel of Michael White’s dining empire, is one of my favorite restaurants in the city. If you want fresh seafood (raw and cooked preparations), expertly prepared house-made pastas, a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere and gracious service, this is THE place to be.
I’ve been for dinner on several occasions and my plan of attack for a table of two usually goes something like this:
- Ricci (sea urchin, lardo, sea salt)
- A selection of 3 – 4 crudo – they are all delicious, but I especially like the razor clams, parrotfish, and deep water snapper
- Two appetizers: Astice (nova scotia lobster, burrata, eggplant, basil) and one other appetizer
- Two pastas: Fusilli (red wine braised octopus, bone marrow) and one other pasta
If it is a table of four, we usually add two fish entrees or a large salt baked branzino to share.
I had the pleasure of taking a day off with my husband last Monday and decided Marea was the place to go for his birthday lunch. Marea offers a business lunch option for $45, which includes a primo and secondo. Let’s get to the good stuff.
Our appetizer choices:
Sardina (seared mediterranean sardine, cured lamb’s tongue, frisee, salsa verde) – Kevin’s appetizer pick, I had a bit of the sardine and it was great! Not fishy at all and cooked perfectly.
Zuppa (watermelon soup, heirloom tomatoes, surf clams, crispy shallots) – it was a hot day and a chilled watermelon soup seemed like the ideal option. I’m not sure how much longer this dish will be on the menu as summer is ending soon, but this soup is soooo good – very refreshing, not too sweet and a perfect summer appetizer.
Fusilli (red wine braised octopus, bone marrow) and Spaghetti (fresh cut semolina pasta, crab, santa barbara sea urchin, basil)
We didn’t want to fight over who got which pasta so we decided to order both and ask the waiters to split it up, which ended up working out very well. Both pastas are wonderful, however, since the fusilli has bone marrow in it, it is a very rich dish, maybe too rich for a hot summer day, so getting half of that, along with half of a lighter pasta was a good idea. The fusilli is one of my most favorite pasta dishes, the octopus is super tender, the sauce along with the bone marrow coats your mouth in the most wonderful way and the pasta… perfectly cooked. The spaghetti is fantastic too, the sea urchin gives it a wonderfully briny taste of the ocean and the fresh sweetness of the crab is the perfect foil to that taste sensation. I was so satisfied after the two pastas, I didn’t even need dessert!
To end the meal, some petit fours:
Blackberry pate de fruit, salted caramel ganache, apricot mini tart… what a great way to end the meal!