Marea: If you haven't heard about this sweet spot on Central Park South, then you haven't been paying attention. This name has recurringly popped up as a place worth mentioning —on twitter feeds with people spying celebrities dining here or food industry notables posting about their amazing meals. And, if you want to take it from a lowly food blogger, the hype is justified.
A dinner at Marea should come with a warning — you may develop a love/hate relationship here. This is the type of meal that leaves you feeling like you can't breathe at the end because you need to unbutton those pants. You'll be in pain but a pain that you wish you felt more often. Even when you are so full you can't take another bite, you urge yourself to do so because you don't want to miss out on a thing. You'll curse those extra pounds at the end of the week, but use the memory of the meal to motivate you to run harder at the gym so you can eat here again. It's pricey and you might be inclined to lament how much this will lighten your wallet, but you'll be overwhelmed by an appreciation for how far your money goes and how much a good meal can do to bring you happiness.
Delicate shrimp on paper-thin zucchini slices and lemon zest. These shrimp had a surprising creaminess to them.
Branzino with sturgeon caviar and mussels vinaigrette. A great choice for caviar lovers with a generous portion complementing the fresh fish.
It's amazing how much better pasta tastes when it has been cooked to the right degree of doneness. Top that off with some amazing flavor combinations and it's hard to go wrong. When you taste the pastas at Marea, you'll realize how many places still don't get it right.
I liked the pasty chef's philosophy:
This was a top meal in its class and I could see it easily becoming one of my favorites, equal to a place like Gramercy Tavern. The setting is beautiful, the service spot-on, and the food perfectly executed. I knew I wanted to return before we even walked out the door.