Great Ocean Food: A near-perfect 24 hours in New York
I had almost a perfect 24 hours recently.
Our daughter is working in New York, which necessitated our visiting her in May. The visit was wonderful. We made sure we were in New York for her birthday. My wife and two daughters are very enthusiastic to celebrate their birthdays. So much so, that I refer to my wife’s annual anniversary of her birth not as a birthday but a birthweek! Back to New York and our near perfect 24 hours.
We decided to take Mimi and her friends to an Italian restaurant in the West Village. To prepare for this event, however, the night before we went to a smart eatery just opposite Central Park called Marea. I have since learned that Marea is Italian for tide.
In their own words, “Marea is an anchor of Central Park and New York City icon, Marea attracts those who don’t chase luxury, but who live it-by elevating life’s moments, indulging their senses, and celebrating every day with the best food, service, and surroundings in the world”.
It made me think of a very upmarket wristwatch or cigarette advertisement and it did fulfil its promise. The service was extraordinary. Having booked to see ‘Beautiful’, the Broadway musical on the same night, time was our enemy.
We were, of course, not the only people there dining and attending a Broadway show. The restaurant staff magically served about 200 people in the first sitting between five thirty and seven yet still managed to make us feel like we were the only people in the place. The remarkable service was matched by the food. We shared an entrée of yellowfin tuna, charred rapini, crispy eggplant, tomato powder. (I have never seen a more extensive menu of sliced raw fish). Most of the party had pasta and I ordered the lobster risotto with pistachio and meyer lemon. All were superb. We mentioned our daughter’s impending
birthday and in true Italian style, we were presented with a birthday dessert resplendent with sparkling fireworks and singing.
We then hurried to Broadway to see the most magical musical depicting Carole King’s life called Beautiful (it played in Melbourne recently). We had almost front row seats and enjoyed every moment. Time for bed and then on to the birthday proper which commenced with breakfast at the New York Athletic Club. It’s exactly the sort of club you would expect with oak panelling, starched white tablecloths and stiff but efficient service. (Think of “The Heritage Club” in the movie Trading Places from which Dan Akroyd’s character Winthorpe was unceremoniously expelled).
The main dining room is just exquisite with a most expansive view of Central Park. We had breakfast, marvelled at the sights and went our separate ways.
Me for a walk to the New York historical society and the girls wandering the West Village. Dinner that night was at Cotenna in the West Village. More relaxed but still very Italian, we shared freshly shucked oysters and pasta dishes for main course.
We opened presents, another birthday cake and more wine. As I said, a near perfect 24 hours with the exception of not having our eldest daughter there.
Next time, Isabelle. Following is a simple pasta Arrabbiata recipe which appeared in the New York Times.