Marea Marea Marea. Everyone talks about Marea. Now I understand why! I rarely venture up to the Upper West Side but upon reading another review of the place, I felt compelled to give it a shot. Most importantly, one of my best friends was in town, and after a weekend of eating solely bagels, chips, bean dip and sangria, we were looking for a delicious and hearty meal.
Marea is a sophisticated spot, but it’s versatile. You could dress up to go here, but you could also, like I did, wear Jeans and a nice top and feel comfortable. You can tell that every detail in the surroundings was very carefully chosen, down to the utensils and place settings. It’s really a beautiful place, and the food is amazing. Below is a picture of Sophia, me and Sara, obviously really excited about our meal.
The servers wowed me from the start. Not only did they come around immediately after we placed our order with a wide selection of breads in a basket, but they brought an amuse bouche of delicious cubes of raw salmon to the table. I love freebies, especially when they involve seafood and are delicious. GOOD ONE MAREA!
I could have ordered everything on the menu, and being the indecisive person I am, it took me about 10 minutes of interrogating the waiter to finally decide. Thankfully I loved every bite and left without regrets. We started with the Chickpea and Seaweed Fritters, which were fried doughy goodness, and sardines, which I didn’t touch. They have a great selection of little sharable bites, so I definitely plan to try something new next time around.
I am rarely wowed by pasta. To me, hot carbs with tomatoes and oil and a few other random ingredients is hard to mess up. Bur Marea’s lobster ravioli with salmon roe was incredible. Ravioli especially tends to be dry, over or undercooked, but this ravioli was not, and the ratio of filling to pasta was perfect – rather than skimping on the filling, as most restaurants do, Marea literally stuffed these little dumplings to the brim with lobster goodness. The best part of the pasta, though, was the light buttery cream sauce. I could have made a meal out of this and the bread, along with the salmon roe that bursted with flavor with every bite. This ravioli may have been some of the best I’ve ever had.
I expected to be disappointed by the next pasta dish I tried, but fortunately I was wrong. The spaghettini with bone marrow and squid, which Sophia ordered, was up there with the ravioli. Such a rich, intense meaty flavor really deepened the flavor of what could have been a bland tomato sauce, and surprisingly coated the squid perfectly. I was in pasta heaven.
For my actual main course, I ordered the swordfish, which was delicious as well. Simple and delicate, it was the perfect main dish to follow the rich marrow pasta.
And of course, for dessert, we ordered the Gianduja with cocoa nib crem, hazelnut chocolate, and fior di latte gelato. Eating this after having consumed two bottles of wine, I have to say I wasn’t in the best state to fairly judge, but, it was awesome. And as if I wasn’t filled to the brim already, the waiter topped us off with a selection of hand crafted chocolates that I devoured. AND THEN, as we were leaving, they handed us a lemon poppy seed muffin for the morning. I told myself that I wouldn’t be able to eat again until the next evening. Of course that was a lie, and the lemon poppy seed muffin turned out to be the perfect breakfast meal.
Thanks Marea – you get an A in my book (but please move further downtown if you can).
Address: 240 Central Park S