Friday, March 5, 2010

Tea & Tarts at Marseille

On Monday I met the lovely AC at Marseille in Hell's Kitchen for after-work tea and treats. While I rarely go to Marseille for food, since I find it a little overpriced and not too special, I've been a number of times for drinks or tea or other specialties. I know that's not ideal for the restaurant in terms of revenue generation, but as I pretty much never go when they're full (i.e., I'm not taking up a table that would otherwise have customers eating a full meal), I don't feel too bad-- at least they're getting some revenue, right?

Anyway, I walked in that night apparently right into the stragglers at the the end of the pre-theater crowd. Also apparently they were doing some sort of stinky-cheese promotion, because by god the place STANK to high heaven (spotted: a chef-manned cheese cart, the source of the, ahem, "odeur"). And it was hot and frenzied. I spent the rest of the evening sweating through my clothes and trying not to breathe the stinky, overheated air.

We ordered drinks. Green tea for me, coffee for AC. I asked for milk on the side and they brought me honey. Ooohkay. Fortunately AC let me swipe some of her milk, so all was well.

The little pitcher in the back is honey

AC also decided to order a nibble, so she put in a request for the goat cheese tart. That precipitated the appearance of the bread basket, with multi-grain bread and a dish of Marseille's signature butter-and-oil combo. I suppose the butter-and-oil sums up Marseille's food philosophy overall: part French (butter), part Mediterranean (olive oil).

Bread offerings

Spread and dip, with herbs

AC also enjoyed the tart, which had a flaky crust, a crown of hair-like frisee, and a surrounding ring of peppery gremolata-like-stuff.

Pretty presentation

We stayed until I felt on the verge of passing out from the heat and then escaped to the mercifully cool, breezy air outside. So maybe this visit wasn't as successful as some of my others; maybe avoiding the dinner hours altogether is the way to go. Or perhaps the strategy is to wait until the fine weather produces the outdoor tables, prime people-watching territory on noisy but entertaining Ninth Avenue? It will happen sooner than we think...

630 Ninth Avenue at 44th Street

No comments: