When you are daydreaming of a wonderfully lavish trip to Paris, it may feel painfully intangible at times. When I dream of Paris, never do I think about the romanticism lingering in the air, the beautifully cut throat high fashion, or people with berets calmly smoking cigarettes with a mysterious gaze. No way man! I dream of piping hot, garlicky and tender escargot, various foods fried in pure duck fat, extravagant foie gras terrines and simply complex pairings of wine and cheese. Oh gosh… Paris! Est-ce que vous connaissez un bon restaurant par ici? English translation: Do you know a good restaurant around here?
There’s something special about Marliave. You feel like you’ve been transported to a chic and casual bistro in France where dining without a glass of wine between your fingertips almost feels uncomfortable. Tastefully simple, dimly lit lights heighten the ambiance for romantic dinners and gatherings of close friends. As for the food… Well, let me tell you about the food.
Everyday, from 4-6pm and 9-11pm, Marliave has a variety of $1 oysters and Little Neck Clams. Oysters usually include Wellfleet, Peter’s Point, Duxbury and Rocky Nook. How can you beat that? Restaurants that serve $1 oysters once a week usually serve you the ones that are about to rot. Trust me, you can taste the difference. This is the perfect after-work spot to relax and slurp on some perfectly briny bites. Squeeze a little lemon juice to bring that baby alive, plop a small dollop of zesty cocktail sauce and then drizzle a little mignonette on it. Yum!
Instead of ordering entrees, my table split three appetizers. One of these appetizers is my absolute favorite macaroni and cheese. No fancy descriptions are necessary, I’ll just share the main ingredients: house cut ziti, black truffle cream and farmhouse cheeses. If you had each of those ingredients alone, they would already be good! Firstly, I don’t know how they make the pasta but the texture is unlike any other typical pastas you’ve had. It is very chewy, but starchy and soft at the same time. It is almost like gnocchi made al dente- except it comes with a decadent truffle cheese sauce and tells you to never stop eating it. This is a must-try at Marliave. I’ve never had anything like it!
Looking at these pictures make me reminisce while salivating over the beef carpaccio. It was good. Damn good. It was prepared with thinly sliced ribeye, topped with peppery arugula, nutty Reggiano cheese, garlicky aioli, sea salt and fruity and flavorful extra olive oil. Here’s the thing… maybe you’ve had steak carpaccios before and they all have same, exact ingredients, but a good quality carpaccio goes a long way. At Marliave, you won’t have to feel unsure about ordering this dish or not. If you aren’t afraid to eat raw meat, this is something I highly recommend.
Last was the duck confit; “crispy leg, coarsely ground duck sausage, broccoli rabe, cassoulet of white beans.” It was warm, hearty, savory and delicious. The duck meat was cooked to juicy and succulent perfection, and the skin gave it a nice crispy crunch. It was a wonderful dish due to the lovely variety of textures and flavorful components in this hot cast iron dish.
Of course, these are only a handful of great dishes you can order at this cozy establishment. I recommend the Beef Wellington and escargot. I’ve also seen many patrons order the risotto- wild mushroom, Reggiano and truffle butter, and Henry’s Soup- french onion, Gruyere, short ribs and crouton. (Hint: Boston Restaurant week is here and the Beef Wellington is usually $32, so now’s a good time to go!) Cheeses and charcuterie are a good option as well. The Fish-n-Chips has been the only dish I felt indifferent about. I’m not sure if it was only that one time, but the fried batter and french fries were a bit soggy and oily. Even though there’s one single dish I didn’t thoroughly love here, it never alters my wonderful impression of Marliave.
You always ease the pain of my intangible trip to France, Marliave
Total Meal: $65
Servings: 2 people
Wow, that mac and cheese looks worth the trip alone!