We like to start the new year right by eating at a restaurant we want to check off the list on January 1st each year. This year it was Marea on Central Park South. We chose Marea because we really enjoyed our last Michael White meal at Ai Fiori (pasta focused) so we decided to try this seafood focused location.
It’s a very nice, very white room with dark floors and dark chairs.
We started with a amuse bouche that was not overly memorable.
And we decided to try a Cristom Pinot Noir to ring in the new year (it was excellent).
We started with the 4 course prix fixe menu (for $97 each) which came with Crudo, Ostriche or Antipasto / Pasta / Pesce or Carne / Dolce.
And of course, we started with the Ostriche, which are oysters. (Very good)
I started with a seafood sausage and egg dish. I really loved the seafood sausage and it all blended well with the dish (I think there were lentils on the bottom)
Mike then had the Caramelle, which were short rib ravioli with red wine sugo, celery root, and foie gras emulsion. I really enjoyed this dish. The short ribs were absolutely yummy in the ravioli.
I chose the fusilli with red wine braised octopus and bone marrow. I thought this was very good, but I think the taste of bone marrow is so good on its own that it gets a bit lost when it’s in a tomato based sauce.
Mike’s entree was the spada, which was grilled Hawaiian swordfish. The current menu describes it with eggplant, radicchio, watercress, marcona almonds, and apricot, but I actually think it was a different version with chick peas in it. The swordfish was perfectly cooked and it all went well together. But I didn’t love it.
I decided to go out on a limb and I ordered the Seppia. Seppia is grilled mediterranean cuttlefish with escarole, taggia olives, livornese, and wild oregano. Cuttlefish is one of those things I’ve always meant to try, and I figured there are few places better to take a risk on a strange seafood than Michael White’s Marea. SO I went for it.
And then there was an alien on my plate.
I am the last one to stick up my nose at “gross” food but the way this thing looked at me… it gave me the heebie-jeebies. It was quite delicious, and I feel like if I liked cuttlefish I would have loved this version. But sadly… I didn’t. Well… It’s not that I didn’t like it, I just wouldn’t go out of my way to order it again. I would much rather eat about a million other things.
We added a side of brussels sprouts with pancetta, and they were cooked perfectly.
Mike chose the Torta di Olio, which was an olive oil cake with roasted pineapple, green apple, and olive oil gelato. This was fresh and beautifully plated.
I went with the Strati Di Cioccolato, which came with dark chocolate crema, salted caramel mousse, cookie crumble, and gelato. YUM! This was great. I loved all the different textures and flavors. They came together perfectly.
The crumbles on top really made the dessert.
We ended with some petit fours.
Which looked beautiful from every angle.
And then they did my favorite thing that nice restaurants do… they gave us a muffin for the next morning.
I don’t remember what it was, but it was really really delicious. I absolutely love that final touch. It wins me over every time.
All the food that we had was very good. Frankly, I don’t think we ordered well. The cuttlefish was just not my thing, so it’s really hard to judge. Overall, I think the meal was very good and I’m glad we tried it. I want to try the rest of Michael White’s places, but I would run back to Ai Fiori in a heartbeat. Not sure I would say the same about Marea.
Total Nom Points: 7 out of 10