Today, Sam Sifton drops the expected threespot on Marea, the posh Italian Seafooder on Central Park South. Prose this purple hasn’t been seen in the paper before:
The very first item on the menu at Marea is ricci, a piece of warm toast slathered with sea urchin roe, blanketed in a thin sheet of lardo, and dotted with sea salt. It offers exactly the sensation as kissing an extremely attractive person for the first time — a bolt of surprise and pleasure combined. The salt and fat give way to primal sweetness and combine in deeply agreeable ways. The feeling lingers on the tongue and vibrates through the body. Not bad at $14 a throw — and there are two on each plate.
I don’t know yet if that paragraph will be the Best of Sifton or the Worst of Sifton, but it’s sure to be one or the other.
It’s a dark and stormy night by the time Sifton gets to crudi:
There is as well a crudo menu — and a crudo bar along the restaurant’s east side, with seats for 20. It is not part of the prix fixe, but a geoduck clam with fresh chilies and lemon helps explain in one bite why men would dive amid huge swells to retrieve the things from the angry Pacific.
The restaurant gets three stars despite weak main courses. “Better to hit shore for the steak (or a crisp roast guinea hen with asparagus) or upgrade into the whole-fish treatments.”
I cringed when Sifton described it as “unfussy.” I had prayed that with Frank Bruni’s retirement, that word and its derivatives be banished from restaurant criticism.
Both we and Eater predicted a three-star review. We both win $1 at EVEN odds against our hypothetical one-dollar bets.
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Life-to-date, New York Journal is 71–26 (73%).