A Night in Capri – Review of Marcony

BY CAROLYN ONOFREY

Marcony
184 Lexington Avenue
Murray Hill, NYC
646-837-6020/
marconyusa.com

Outdoor patio at Marcony

Outdoor patio at Marcony

Marcony’s lofty space hides the fact that the restaurant is relatively small.  There are two balconies perfect for private parties, but they are also opened for dinner on nights when the restaurant gets busy. For a restaurant in a rather dismal area for restaurants, I was surprised to see that by 9pm on a Wednesday night the downstairs dining room almost to full capacity.

Bare white walls were accented by delicate blown glass lighting fixtures and a large tubular blown glass sculpture hung like a chandelier. It acted as the focal point for the room, and the bright blues it emitted stood  out as one of the only splashes of color in the space, save the flower arrangement and fresh strawberries perched on top of the bar.

Eggplant rollatini

Eggplant rollatini

Marcony serves fresh Italian food inspired by the cuisine of Capri.  Chef and owner Marco Pipolo is not only a gracious host, but takes pride in what his kitchen puts out, focusing on light dishes with fresh ingredients and bright flavors. Standouts on the menu included the branzino, eggplant rollatini and the spinach and ricotta tortelloni.  The rollatini, bathed in a light vodka sauce and stuffed with crab meat, was a perfect way to get my palate ready for the adventure through Capri that I was about to experience.  The vodka sauce did not negate the flavor nuances of the eggplant or crab, but instead complemented and accentuated them.  The Spinach and Ricotta Tortelloni was dressed with a truffle cream sauce that was to die for. I greedily gobbled up the tortelloni, a light yet oh-so-rich dish that I continue to dream about.

Branzino with citrus fruit reduction at Marcony

Branzino with citrus fruit reduction at Marcony

We also tasted the gnocchi with almond pesto and sun dried tomato.  The gnocchi was light and airy and the pesto a complement, which did not overpower the tender, pillowy pasta. If there was ever any question that I didn’t have room to finish the meal by the time that the main course of a whole Branzino freshly filleted and served with an orange and lemon reduction came out of the kitchen, it was rapidly dispelled on sight of the main dish.  The delicate, white fish was cooked to perfection and the reduction which accompanied the fish was full of bright flavor that immediately put a smile on my face.

Dessert spread at Marcony

Dessert spread at Marcony

The end of the meal came, and although I was stuffed, I couldn’t wait to see what came out next.  A ricotta cheese cake, made with cream cheese, candied cherries and a buttery Zabaglione that was as light as air.  We finished the meal with a very appropriate glass of the house-made Limoncello (originating in Capri) and could only sit in silence to savor the experience and let ourselves flavor-travel to the beautiful isle that Chef Pipolo tastefully showcased.

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