The New York Times critic wrote, when awarding Marea its three stars, that trying the restaurant’s ricci (sea urchin roe with lardo and sea salt on toast) was like “kissing an extremely attractive person for the first time—a bolt of surprise and pleasure combined.” The metaphor holds for the entire experience of dining here, I’d say. There are few restaurants anywhere as attractive (or as comfortable to dine in, thanks to their tremendously cushy leather chairs); and the pleasure quotient here is high. A lot of the credit should go to chef Michael White, who has an extraordinary talent of coaxing every last bit of flavor from a fish, whether he’s serving it raw (crudo) with some delightful sauce, or simply grilled, again with a fab sauce. He also knows his way around noodles, creating inventive dishes (such as tiny gnocchi with ruby red shrimp, chilies, and rosemary). And keep your eyes peeled, as this place is a celebrity magnet.
- Pauline Frommer