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first visit to Marco

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Restaurants & Bars

first visit to Marco

MC Slim JB | Sep 24, 2005 01:46 PM

The former Scalinatella space has been scrubbed of those awful celeb photos; the space looks smaller, sparer, cleaner. It's so soon after the opening that half the menu isn't available: no grilled meats or seafood (a big section), no salumi (bummer, I hear the exec chef Orfaly brought in learned to cure meats in Tuscany), no grilled vegetable antipasto, and so on and on. There's a stand-up bar for snacking with a glass of wine (a mini-bacaro?) that isn't online yet, either, but it's an idea I like.

Complimentary olives, almonds, bread and oil are all very good, as is an amuse-bouche of fennel salad with citrus fruits. Caprese with awesome peak tomatoes is much better than the oversized, dull argula salad. The standouts are a risotto with truffles and mushrooms (great creamy mouthfeel *and* chewy insides: perfection, so rare to see in North End risotti) and a simple tomato-basil fedellini (best version I've had since Terramia, so simple and so good, when done right).

Portions are surprisingly large. Wine list is quite short. We find a decent Valpolicella for $36, which brings the check to about $100 for two. Next time we'll get more apps, skip the larger salads, get a half of pasta (big enough for a mid-course for two), and try some of the entrees.

Service was plenty attentive, including repeated visits from the chef and host and tag-team of waiters, but the place was clearly still in startup mode. I'll be curious to see if they can produce that fabu risotto when it gets packed. A promising first visit, but they are clearly not fully up and running yet.

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