The Michelin Quest: Day 1

Let’s see, how to parse this trip. I could have just made one monstrosity of a post but that would be way too long. I could also then make one for each restaurant, but then that would be too many to flood and some posts would be super short due to certain restaurant policies. So, I’ve decided to break it down by day. No I’m not going to critique each dish, that would take far too long and frankly impractical. I will however make any noticeable comments at the end to summarize

*Disclaimer I am well aware some of the pictures in this series will not be the clearest but I tried to make the picture taking process as quick as possible not to detract from the food.

Day 1: Star count 3

Marea

I officially start my journey with a walk down the street to Marea, a 2 star seafood restaurant. First impressions were promising, unlike Oceana, the restaurant was well seated by the 8 o’clock hour. Surely if this many people eat here, the food must be good. Atmosphere-wise it was busy with lots of hustle bustle. Not the quietest of fine dining, but I’ll give that a pass this time. As with all the restaurants this week, I ordered the Five Course Five Year Tasting Menu with wine pairings. At $190 this was one of the cheaper pre-tax and tip meal.

First Course: Crudo

  • Raw Pacific Snapper with Whole Wheat Panzanella
  • Thallassitis Gai’A 2013

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Second Course: Tarteletta

  • Lightly Cooked Spanish Mackerel with Salsa Cruda
  • Paestum Greco, “Calpazio” San Salvatore 2012

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Third Course: Tagliolini Verde

  • Shrimp and Seppia Ragu with Lobster Oil and Molica Nero
  • Soave Classico “Monte Alt”, Ca’Rugate 2012

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Fourth Course: Ippoglosso

  • Nova Scotia Halibu with Corn, Romesco, Clams and Sopressata
  • “SP68” Rosso, Occhipinti 2013

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Fifth Course: Cioccolato Bianco E Pompelmo

  • White Chocolate Crema with Pine Nut and Grapefruit Sorbetto
  • Torcolato, Maculan 2009

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Summary:

First off, miles above my experience at Oceana. There was no comparison. There were a couple low notes though. As I had mentioned before, the atmosphere was a bit noisy, in part due to the choice of decor and flooring. Looking back, the service of the restaurant, though very well attended to, had a normal feel to it. Almost as if I were at a fancy Pappadeaux. The staff were friendly, but I just didn’t get that fine dining feel. Being my first real Michelin Star experience I didnt really know what to expect food-wise. Even after years of eating sushi, I had snapper for the first time and it was a delightful snapper. Overall, all the dishes had big bold flavors that melded well with each other and the wine. All except for one. The Shrimp Ragu, though very well cooked and balanced as a light dish, just didn’t fit in with the rest of the menu. It could stand to use a little more seasoning and oomph.

And so the end of Day 1 with a trip total of 3 stars.

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