I did not know where I was going for dinner to celebrate our 2 year anniversary. I did know I was meeting T at Columbus Circle. And I was to be dressed up. So I pulled out my to-be-worn Roberto Rodriguez dress, heels, and made my way there from work, curious to see where we were headed. While Marea had been a long lingerer on our “to try” list, it hadn’t really crossed my mind Marea could be the spot. Especially since I thought (incorrectly, as it turns out) that Marea was in the Upper West Side.
As we perused the menu and Bible-like wine list, we were greeted by this light refreshing amuse-bouche. I was very impressed by the sommelier, who was able to quickly go off of a couple I found interesting paired with my description (what wine works well for this guy over here who doesn’t like white wines but can no longer drink red) to guide me to a selection buried in the pages. Verdict? Quite good and at a reasonable price point to boot.
We both went with the four course prix fixe. Priced at $97, it included a selection from Crudo, Ostriche or Antipasto, a Pasta, a choice of fish or meat, and dessert. There were so many intriguing options on the list that narrowing it down, especially for the first course, was quite hard. I made it down to two options, and asked the server for his opinion. I went with his suggestion, which was the Dentice from the “Crudo” section of the menu. It was sliced raw Pacific snapper, mandarin orange, pistachio, and a carrot vinaigrette.
For the pasta course, my choice was a no-brainer. I clicked around online and everyone was raving about their fusilli, incorporated a red-wine braised octopus with bone marrow. The flavors were quite good. Just a tad spicy and I liked that the pasta was subtle and in thin corkscrew ribbons. The portion size was absolutely perfect. Highly recommend.
For my main course, I had to go with the Spigola Nera, which was local black sea bass, fregola sarda, cipollini, broccoli rabe, roasted carrots, and a balsamic glaze. The fish was amazing – light, flaky, and flavorful. The fregola was a wonderful addition, something I haven’t come across in probably years in NYC. The perfect caramelization on the cipollini made it impossible for me not to eat every last bit.
For dessert, I went with the Crostata di Mirtilli, which was huckleberries, ricotta crema, candied squash, sicilian pistachio, and a lemon sorbet. It felt very guilt-free for a dessert. There were lots of things going on with the listed ingredients here so I was not sure if it would all work … but oh, it did. I can’t say I’ve ever had candied squash in a dessert, but it worked. This is one of the best desserts I’ve had in a while. T had the Budino di Mandorla, which was also quite good. It was white chocolate almond crema with orange blossom, lemon curd, and blood orange sorbetto. The white chocolate almond crema was quite sweet and the blood orange sorbetto tart. The rest helped it to even out a bit, with the overall flavor on the sweet side. Both wonderful ways to end a great meal to celebrate such a wonderful occasion!
Marea – 240 Central Park South – 212.582.5100