A paean to seafood, Marea is chef Michael White’s showstopping tribute to all things from the sea. From its Columbus Circle location, the beautiful room is filled with well-heeled clientele that have come to sample from an encyclopedic menu while indulging in fantastic wine and conversation.
On this evening The Monster is meeting one of his best friends from childhood which promises plenty of good times and quite a few bottles of wine.
It is in fact an occasion for excess. The amuse bouche of lettuce fennel apple soup with pickled grapes is a refreshing start to the night.
Off the crudo menu we decide on the Dentice – pacific snapper, manadarin orange, pistachio, carrot vinagraitte. It’s gorgeous, clean, bright flavors a perfect opening salvo. Unfortunately, the Polipo – octopus, chili oil, lemon, parsley, proves disappointing as it falls flat in the taste department.
Moving on to the antipasti we must order the Astice – Nova Scotia lobster, burrata, eggplant al funghetto, basil. It’s decadent, sinful and pairs wonderfully with the Granchio – blue crab, date puree, yogurt, lemon, speck, pine nuts which is fruity and playful.
For the pasta course we can’t decide and so we order four plates to share; Fusilli – red wine braised octopus, bone marrow; Tortelli, dandelion, langoustines, butternut squash; Gnochetti ruby red shrimp, chilies, rosemary; Orecchiette lobster sausage, broccoli rabe. As we’re on bottle number three The Monster stops taking notes and instead basks in the wonderfully rich flavors.
Or, The Monster takes notes, none of which are later decipherable. The word orgasm might be written down. Or is that organic? There are a lot of things underlined. And quite a few circles. Though that may just be doodling. Because that is most definitely a picture of a horse. Why? Not sure.
As if we haven’t had enough we order the Brodetto Di Pesce, an Adriatic seafood soup with clams, langoustines, scallop, prawns, bass. And the Seppia, grilled Mediterranean cuttlefish, braised escarole, taggia olives, livornese sauce, wild oregano. And there is a chicken dish though the hieroglyphics that are supposedly notes taken don’t mention any of the ingredients. Eh, who cares? Did you come to Marea to order chicken? And we have some octopus. Don’t recall that but there is a picture so who can argue?
There is a dessert but it ends up a casualty of the wine after the first bite. Hopefully the tablecloth enjoyed it. A few other nibbles compliments of Marea and the restaurant is shutting down.
Why go? You love chicken!
Monster rating: 4½/5 Monsters
240 Central Park S
New York, NY 10019