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
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