Mare, pronounced mah-ray, is Italian for sea. Although I’d made the OpenTable reservations weeks in advance, I’d actually been meaning to dine here since the organic trend took off a few years ago. Fortunately, Mare was offering some of its usual fare on the restaurant week menu–an opportunity I could not pass. Sometimes, restaurants offer ‘lower-end’ substance on their restaurant week, prix-fixe menus. Not Mare.
with Genovese Pesto and Potato Mousse
The first-course: Smoky, perfectly grilled Octopus paired very nicely with the nutty, fresh pesto and creamy mousse. A great way to kick-off the meal with all the textures and flavors to amuse the bouche. Compliments to the chef on the grilled Octopus. Never have I had such excellently executed Octopus!
My friend Shelly had the Steamed Wellfleet Mussels with Toybox Tomatoes and Preserved Lemon, an excellent antipasti as well. I hardly ever order mussels from a restaurant. It’s the rare occasion that I stray from confrontation–that is, I actively avoid the disappointment associated with overcooked, rubbery bivalves. I can confidently say, however, that the mussels at Mare are exceptional and I would surely order them on my next visit.
Seared Chilean Sea Bass
with fingerling potatoes, vanilla oil and blood orange
Second course: Just as many celebrities have changed their names for greater appeal (Norma Baker->Marilyn Munroe) , so have restaurants for their fish appeal. The Chilean Sea Bass is the ‘stage name’ for the Patagonian Toothfish. Well, whatever or whoever you are, (CSB or PTooth), I love you nonetheless for you are rich, meaty and naturally oily–in a good way, of course. Mare gets it right again, combining the creamy fingerlings with the sweet onions, velvety sea bass and tangy blood orange.
with mascarpone chocolate truffle
Third course: Although my trio of gelato was nothing to write home about, Shelly’s tiramisu is certainly blog-worthy. The consistency of the mascarpone was not overly creamy nor heavy like other tiramisus I’ve had. It’s always nice to end on a sweet note, especially one that doesn’t feel like a bad episode of Top Chef, where a flustered chef will throw just about anything on at the end for the sake of ‘doing a dessert.’
Overall, our dining experience at Mare was satisfying and delicious (in the words–or song–of Willy Wonka). The seafood was just as I’d expected–simple, fresh, and inviting. I’d love to go back for more and next time, try some of their pasta dishes. Until next time…ciao!