Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Day 925 : Birthday Dinner at Marea

Just east of Columbus Circle, on Central Park South, sits Michael White's homage to seafood -- Marea. Meaning 'tide,' in Italian, this elegant yet discreet, warm and welcoming restaurant is one of the city's loveliest fine dining spots, at least in my humble opinion. This past Monday, I had the pleasure of dining there as a pre-birthday dinner and boy what a treat.

The menu features a selection of crudos, an extensive offering of oysters, fish centric appetizers, White's infamous pastas, and entrees from the land and sea.

We started off the evening right with glasses of fabulous pink bubbles in the form of Franciacorta Brut Rose. Crafted with 100% Pinot Noir Grapes, this crisp, dry and bright sparkling hailing from Lombardy is an absolute delight. With a bouquet of summertime peaches, roses, cranberry, honey, and toasty nutty notes, we were off to a great beginning.

So what did I have?

I started off with their Nova Scotia Lobster, Burrata, Eggplant al funghetto, and basil antipasti which was bright and flavorful with a fantastically decadent sumptuous roundness. A bold and inventive combination of flavors that just hit it out of the ballpark. Each morsel just melted in your mouth in the most sensual of manners. Great with the crisp, bright acidity of the Franciacorta.

It was going to be hard to top that but the following course was just as beautiful in a completely different rustic and earthy, yet big and bold manner. Next up I had the grilled octopus with smoked potatoes, pickled red onions, radish, chilies and tonnato. Confession -- I absolutely adore octopus and if its on a menu at a restaurant, I will more than likely order it. This preparation was elegant and bursting with flavor.

After these two delicious courses, what was next on the four course tasting?

The Florida Red snapper served with seasonal squash, mustard greens, radish, pumpkin seeds and Parmesan. A bold combination of flavors composed in a beautiful manner.

To finish up -- no candles and singing thank you very much but instead a selection of Italian cheeses including La Tur, Caciocavallo, Pecorino, Blu del moncenisio and more.

An elegant and inventive celebratory meal at a wonderful restaurant. What a great way to kick off my birthday! Stay tuned tomorrow for two other birthday meals!

240 Central Park South

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