Monday, January 9, 2012

Ethereality at Marea

It was the Fashionista's birthday this past Saturday and only Marea interested her as a dinner destination. We have always loved Michael White's restaurants but since Morini opened a few blocks from her showroom she has become completely enraptured, breaking bread and wine there with alarming frequency. It is not just the food, which is beyond reproach, but also the service and attention to detail,  and,  I suspect, that both she and the chef hail from the Midwest, that have made her such a White acolyte. 
Dispelling with the menus we put ourselves in the chefs large and capable hands and he crafted a meal that ranks amongst the best we have had together, right up there with our experiences at Per Se, Jean George, Daniel et al. Marea doesn't hold quite the critical acclaim (read: NY Times stars) of these other fine restaurants but, as I hinted at in my review of the restaurant for Serious Eats back in 2009, it is equally accomplished yet is more accessible and just more fun.

Lobster with burrata
We enjoyed a three plus hour, eight course, ten wine extravaganza. I didn't take extensive pictures or notes as I was off the clock for once, there only for the sheer pleasure. Suffice it to say that wave after wave of White's greatest hits and newest tricks landed on our table. Delicate rows of crudo, lobster served with burrata or stuffed in to pasta.
Of particular note was a  new dish - the Uovo con tartufo nero - an immersion  cooked egg comes bathed in a red wine veal sauce under a shroud of earthy black truffles.
We split the steak, a funky 50 day dry aged strip served with bone marrow panzanella that is one of my favorites around. My half was cooked on the plancha to a perfect black and blue, the Fashionista's was grilled perfectly medium rare.
A heartfelt thanks from the Fashionista and I to Chef White and the entire staff at Marea for a wondrous evening. It is going to be hard to top this meal, and so early in the year!

Marea 240 Central Park South  New York, NY 10019 (212) 582-5100

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