August 17, 2010


dinner at Marea
Whenever Jen comes to town, we always seem to have a wonderful get-together.  From Scandinavian food to David Chang's latest Momofuku spot, we've been fortunate to catch up with fellow food bloggers over interesting and tasty dishes.  Our most recent get-together was no exception.

Jen managed to score a reservation in Marea's private dining room without the normal $1600 food/drink requirement.  Not only were we able to dine in a lovely space, but we were able to take as many photos as we'd like.
white wines at Marea
Since we were sure we would be enjoying lots of seafood, my hubby chose these 2 white wines for us:  Soave Castelcerino Filippi 2008 ($12), a floral, minerally white that tasted like green apple and Kerner Abbazia di Novacella 2009 ($14), a Riesling blend that was clean, crisp, and very pleasant.
amuse bouche at Marea
Looking at the menu, there are a number of ways you can order.  Christine and I both opted for the 4-course fixed priced meal ($89 for our choice of any appetizer, pasta, entree, and dessert from the menu).  My hubby wanted 2 pasta courses (Marea is known for its seafood and house-made pastas), so we tried to strategically mix and match dishes as he opted to order a la carte.  Jen was determined to try as many crudos as possible, so she made her own tasting menu by ordering 2 crudo samplers in addition to a couple of a la carte items.   

To start the meal, we were all served a complimentary amuse bouche that was as tasty as it was pretty. The white peach, onion, and shallot soup with pistachio oil was served with a thin slice of peach with crushed pistachio nuts on top.  The mix of peach and shallots was an unexpectedly bright and fresh combination.  
sea urchin with lardo at Marea
The whole table loved the Ricci ($15) or a crostini with sea urchin, lardo, and sea salt.  This melt in your mouth appetizer is a must-try dish!
marea crudo
Crudo tasting (3 for $25 or $6 supplement to fixed price menu):  While Cindy and Jen both ordered the langostein as part of their trio, we went for these three:  Tonno big eye tuna, oyster crema, crispy artichokes; Vongole geoduck clam, fresh chilies, lemon, hearts of palm; and Seppia cuttlefish tagliatelle, soffrito crudo, bottarga di muggine.

We loved the tuna (my favorite of the trio) - it was generous in size and very fresh. My hubby enjoyed his first taste of geoduck (his favorite of the trio). It wasn't as salty as the geoduck I had at Coi.  It was sweeter and tasted like the ocean.  The cuttlefish had some chili on it to add a spicy flavor to it. 
crudo and caviar
Christine got the Branzino crudo ($18 a la carte) as part of her 4 course meal.  This white striped bass topped with sturgeon caviar and mussel vinaigrette looked so silky and fresh!
lobster and burrata from Marea
We ordered the Astice ($24 or $6 fixed price supplement) because we love Nova Scotia Lobster and Burrata cheese.  It also came with eggplant al funghetto and basil.  We love burrata and this version was creamy and delectable.  It ranks highly along with our other favorite burrata experience.
grilled octopus
Our server told us this was the best octopus she's ever had.  So we ordered the Polipo ($20 a la carte) which included grilled octopus, smoked potatoes (both purple and yellow), pickled red onion, chilies, and tomatoes. The table agreed that this tender, slightly charred octopus was definitely one of, if not, the best octopus dishes ever enjoyed.
alaskan halibut and spring peas
Talida and her husband ordered the Ippoglosso ($43 a la carte):  Alaskan halibut alla piastra, cippolini agrodolce, chanterelles, spring peas, Parmigiano.
red wine braised octopus and bone marrow in fusilli
The Fusilli ($28 a la carte) with red wine, octopus, and bone marrow was another table favorite. Silky bone marrow with tender octopus and lots of sauce made for a remarkable dish.  My hubby ordered a glass of a juicy Sicilian red wine, Nero d'Avolab 2007 ($15), that paired nicely with the pasta.
agnolotti veal ravioli with sweetbreads and funghi
Agnolotti ($28 a la carte):  Veal ravioli with sweetbreads and funghi.  This dish was as rich as we had imagined and just as good.  It had an earthy, savory flavor and we loved the ravioli the best on the plate.
branzino with truffles and artichoke at Marea
Branzino ($43 a la carte) seared striped bass, crushed potatoes, artichokes alla giudia, torpedo onion, summer truffle. The fish was perfectly cooked and the shaved truffle was a luxurious touch, but the highlight for me was the crispy artichoke.  Like a delicate flower, each "petal" of the artichoke was thin and crunchy like a wafer yet retained that green artichoke taste.
crab sea urchin spaghetti
My hubby ordered the Spaghetti ($28 a la carte) with crab, Santa Barbara sea urchin, basil. This was his favorite pasta dish of the night.  It had a decent amount of crab and uni (sea urchin), balanced seasoning, and was very rich.  We wished we had a bigger plate! (There was a mix-up with our order and we were served a half-portion instead of the full portion).
semolina tart dessert at Marea
Jen ordered the Ciliegia ($12 a la carte):  A semolina tart with poached local cherries, honey custard, and brachetto sorbet (brachetto is a red Italian wine grape).  This was a beautiful dish and I loved the glass sugar piece.
polenta cake dessert at Marea
Cindy chose the Polenta Fritta ($12 a la carate):  with crispy polenta, blackberry compote, mascarpone ice cream.  The table also received complimentary biscotti to enjoy with our teas and coffees.
hazelnut espresso chocolate cake
Christine and I both ordered the Gianduja ($14 a la carte) as the final part of our 4-course fixed price meal.  I loved the richness of cocoa nib crema, hazelnut, and chocolate with the light fior di latte gelato (milk, cream, and sugar).
chocolates at Marea
And finally, some complimentary chocolates (Earl Grey, Mint, White Chocolate with Lemon, and Salted Caramel) were provided to end our meal. 
Marea menu
The food was overall amazing (a tad pricey), though the service was a little off (a couple mixed up plates amongst our 8 diners).  We were more than satisfied with everything we ordered and were happy to have had a chance to dine here.  If you're in NYC and like pasta and seafood, Marea is the spot for a special, celebratory meal.

Marea is located at 240 Central Park South (on W 59th St btwn 7th and 8th Aves) in NYC.

Marea on Urbanspoon

Want another take on the dinner? Check out Jen's post and pictures on our group's experience at Marea.


  1. Great detailed recap! I kept wishing I had all your notes when I was writing because I couldn't remember anything that wasn't on the online menu! I think I'll update my sparse "fried polenta" description. Tanks for the great detailed post. It was a great time and I can't wait until the next one!

  2. Thanks Jen! I was lucky that my hubby was there too b/c he has a photographic memory while I depend on notes/photos of the menu to remember everything! Your photos of the meal were fantastic - especially those vivid purple potatoes with the yummy octopus. So fun!

  3. Man, I am SO IMPRESSED with his memory! I love the pics you have of everyone taking pictures, lol!

  4. An excellent review of a wonderful meal! There are some spectacular dishes here!

  5. Thanks Natasha! I bet you could recreate a few of them! =)

  6. That food looks absolutely amazing and cool that you got to eat in the private dining room!

  7. The dishes tasted so good! Wished you were there, but if you and Neil want to enjoy a special meal the next time you're in town, definitely check it out!

  8. christinefreshlocalandbestAugust 22, 2010 at 4:31 PM

    It is quite impressive the detail that you guys remember from this meal, which was very good. I still dream about the uni pasta which is creamy, briny and sweet. Also the octopus was probably the best I've ever tasted. I'm looking forward to the next time we all get together.

  9. We always have a good time over lovely meals together! Both the uni pasta and Ricci have changed my perception of sea urchin!

  10. Don't the desserts all look so pretty? Definitely check out Marea out!


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