Sunday, May 18, 2014

Da Marcella – Unassuming Gem that Wows the Palate

A few weeks ago, I spent time with my fellow NYC food bloggers at a press dinner at Da Marcella restaurant.  Being that the restaurant is located close to my day job neighborhood, I was eager to attend, so I can learn about it and hopefully spread the word to others.  I’m happy to say it was a fruitful experience and a restaurant I’ll gladly return to again.

Set on a busy restaurant block on Houston Street between McDougal and Thompson St., it’s easy to miss Da Marcella if you’re not looking for it.  Located in the lower portion of the building, it almost feels like a cellar—one that you most definitely want to spend time in.

I loved that the vibe felt communal with a mix of small and large-ish tables suitable for groups such as ours.  Everyone seemed to be relaxed, chatty and equipped with a glass of wine and something delicious in front of them.  The front door was open, letting in the fresh spring air, and the overall feeling was one of friendliness and hospitality.

Da Marcella’s Northern Italian cuisine was presented in the form of a family style dinner—a great format for this hearty meal.  Sharing everything with my dining companions was a lot of fun, and the food paparazzo definitely came out in all of us.  Here are a few of my personal highlights:

Grilled Marinated Spanish Octopus – Cooking octopus to a fine texture is no easy feat, but Da Marcella mastered it well.  Each bite was a delight, as the meaty octopus melted in your mouth, also creating a pop of flavor from the lemony vinaigrette, a peppery arugula and fresh caper berries.

Scottish Wild Salmon Tartare – Although I wouldn’t expect this dish to come out of an Italian kitchen, once again it was executed to a tee.  The portion was small and delicate, as it should be, and the salmon tasted fresh and vibrant like the sea.  Pretty flecks of green avocado contrasted the salmon in color and taste, giving it body and substance.

Burrata with San Daniele Prosciutto – I can never refuse a good burrata, relishing the creamy substance that lies in the middle of the not quite set cheese.  Da Marcella’s version was simple but beautiful, accompanied by thin slivers of salty prosciutto and a few hints of luxurious white truffle sauce that set our tastebuds aflutter.

Chef Francesco’s Meatballs – A likely staple at Italian restaurants, a meatball dish is usually a good barometer of overall quality, and this one didn’t disappoint.  Served in a homemade tomato sauce, the meatballs had everything we could hope for including juiciness, flavor, fresh herbs and gooey muzz on top.  This was a favorite for a lot of my dining companions, as well.

Ricotta Cheesecake – A traditional Italian-style ricotta cheesecake is always a bonus, so I was excited when this beautiful slice was placed before us.  Not too sweet, with a hint of orange zest, it exemplified a perfect balance of flavors.  After being approached for seconds, we all replied in unison with a spirited “yes.”

Service and Cost:
Matching the laid back, warm atmosphere, the service at Da Marcella exhibited just that.  Manuel, who was our host for the evening did a great job of explaining each dish and paired a complementary wine with each selection.  We felt comfortable and well taken care of throughout the evening.

Costs are competitive, especially given this expensive Soho/West Village neighborhood.  I can’t wait to return with friends and co-workers from the area.

Appetizers - $6 - $12
Pasta - $10 - $14
Entrees - $17 - $19
Dessert - $7

3 Mmmms

Da Marcella – 142 West Houston Street, New York, NY 10012
A/C/E Train to West 4th Street

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...