Marea, New York (August 2012)

Food: very good, though neither dish was faultless. Despite coating each bite of lobster with a healthy carapace of burrata, I was still left staring at a large mound on the plate. As for the fusilli, it was delicious, but the portion was Flinstonian: after a half-dozen bites, the bottom of the bowl remained elusive, leaving me wondering if there was some sort of self-replenishing mechanism at play.
Highlights: predictably, the fusilli
Service: good
Pr(return): low (why, you might ask? See ambiance below)
Ambiance: stuffy. Until lunch at Marea, I never understood what people meant when they referred to a restaurant as stuffy. Well, now I do. It was as if they were embarrassed to have okayed my reservation. They seated me at Table 1, a table that hugs the set of stairs leading into the dining room, a table where no guest walking down those steps into the dining room would have to see the scruffy tatterdemalion who made it through their sieve of affluence. Indeed, my disheveled disposition may explain why I was never offered a look at either the wine or cocktail lists–did they think I had already been drinking at noon on a Wednesday?–and why no one was seated within a two-table proximity of me. I can tell when I’m unwanted, so I didn’t bother looking at the dessert menu. Instead, I ambled across Columbus Circle over to Jean-Georges where I enjoyed two desserts!

Nova Scotia lobster, basil seeds, tomatoes, pickled eggplant and burrata

Whole wheat fusilli, red wine-braised octopus and bone marrow

Cream puff, raspberry pate de fui, salted caramel and a fruit crumble

5 thoughts on “Marea, New York (August 2012)

  1. It's a shame that a multi-starred Italian restaurant would treat someone like a second-class citizen seemingly because of his appearance. I'm glad you moved to Jean Georges for desserts. I think the Columbus Circle area enjoys the highest Michelin-stars per square foot in the country.

  2. Yeah, Columbus Circle is pretty gnarly in that regard. As for Marea, I had a sense of humor about it throughout. I mean one can read about the tiered system at Le Cirque in the 1980s–celebrities and politicians versus peons–but to know it still exists and to witness it first-hand was all the more stunning.

  3. I represent Marea & the Altamarea Group. I apologize if you thought you were disregarded, however it sounds as if you were uncomfortable all around. Should you have spoken up or asked for a cocktail, the staff would have obliged with a smile. I do hope you consider returning to Marea or any of the AMG properties with more of an open mind. Perhaps you will enjoy yourself! We take great pride in our customers as well as our food.

  4. You mentioned that you showed up looking scruffy, not to excuse any lapse of service, but maybe you should consider showing a little more respect for the ambiance of a place and dress more appropriately. Just a friendly suggestion.

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