The word "marea"— which happens to be the name of the new restaurant just opened by business partners Chris Cannon and chef Michael White, in the fabled, former San Domenico space—means tide. But White and Cannon’s spot has become the object of such intense speculation in the months leading up to its opening to the point that Crucible might have been a more fitting name. How come? Because of its prime Central Park South location, for starters: the restaurant’s rent is somewhere in the $750,000 per year ballpark. On top of that there was the massive renovation undertaken by Cannon and White. "How do you define 'brazen' in the dining world?" the Wall Street Journal asked earlier this month. “By opening an opulent, multimillion-dollar Italian eatery on Central Park South as many other restaurants struggle to fill seats.”
For Michael White, the new restaurant is also a personal culinary endeavor, just as much about Branzino as it is about being brazen. In a Gothamist interview last August, the chef talked about the prospects of opening a restaurant in that specific space: “I have a particular fondness for that restaurant,” the chef mentioned, “having worked with Valentino Marcattilii at Ristorante San Domenico in Italy.” Marcattilii opened San Domenico in New York in 1988.
And now Marea is open. As promised, the place has a super-deluxe 17-seat crudo counter; a swanky, soundproofed private dining room; and more bells and whistles than the Cobra Terror Drome playset. White’s focus here is lightly cooked and raw Mediterranean fish and pasta portions not big enough for Gael Greene. [NB: this isn’t Olive Garden, lady] Cephalopods also seem to be the name of the game with cuttlefish, octopus, and squid all making the menu. There have been a lot of menu preview sessions in the past few months that show the restaurant’s plated food. Fried snacks and appetizers run from $7-$11; simple preparations of fish are $16-$19. It goes up from there; if you’re feeling a little priced out, fear not: a pizza spot—presumably lower-priced—from the same team is next up on the agenda.
Marea // 240 Central Park South // (212) 582-5100