Thoroughly enjoying the VIP night I attended a few weeks ago at Marco’s New York Italian Restaurant in Stratford upon Avon, I was delighted to have the opportunity to return and enjoy the restaurant in its more usual guise.
The restaurant purveys an eclectic mix of Italian food infused with influences of New York dining, ultimately inspired by the Italian immigrants and their descendants that settled in the US over a century ago and who (as is quoted by the restaurant team), have given rise to one of America’s most vibrant, delicious and important cuisines that is a celebration of both resourcefulness and culinary invention.
Arriving on a Wednesday evening at 7pm, we saw the last trickle of early diners leave (pre-theatre diners one assumes) and a number of tables were already occupied, gradually filling up as the evening went on.
The room was lit, although atmospherically dimmed, which fitted the Tudor timbered character of the building well. Glancing around, amongst the discreet Christmas decorations (enough to mark the occasion but not overly done to be intrusive), portraits of Marco Pierre White himself adorn the walls with a reminder of whose hospitality you are enjoying!
My carnivourous husband dined with me and we decided to eat from the two menus available that night, so he had Marco’s Festive Menu and I chose my courses from the a la carte menu.
The Festive Menu is available throughout December until the 24th for lunch (£20 per person) and dinner (£29.50 per person) and whilst it incorporates a lot of traditional seasonal traits, there were still elements of the restaurant’s raison d’etre with Italian influences woven in which made for a nice equipoise.
My husband chose the Classic Bruschetta with Tomato Basil and Garlic to start with. He commented it was tangy with a nice hit of garlic and was not too heavy as a starter.
He then opted for the Rib Eye Steak with Calabrian Spice Butter which came with Rosemary and Garlic Roasted Potatoes and Seasonal Vegetables. Succulent and cooked exactly as per his instruction, the Calabrian Spice butter complemented it well and the vegetables were cooked perfectly.
For dessert he had New York Cheesecake with Mulled Winter Fruits. The cheesecake was light and the fruit compote added a nice sharp contrast.
From the a la carte menu, I chose the Roasted Beetroot & Goat’s Cheese Salad with Aged Balsamic Dressing as a starter portion. Although there were a lot of rocket leaves present, the beetroot was well roasted and a good match for the sharp goat’s cheese. I felt the dish needed some bread to accompany it which was eagerly given to me when requested.
For my main course, I opted for the Wild Mushroom Risotto which I had with a side dish of Seasonal Vegetables. Risotto can be a bit of a hit and miss dish when dining out and I was pleased when my (generous) portion came featuring meaty textured mushrooms, it was filling, nicely creamy and the vegetables gave variety to the dish.
Choosing Marco’s Tiramisu as my dessert option, I was informed it was made on site (which is good) and it was layered well, soft and slightly boozy.
One thing that I was impressed with was at the point of ordering our dolci/desserts, the waitress knowing I was vegetarian, advised me of the desserts that contained non-vegetarian ingredients which helped me to make my decision a lot easier. This kind of level of customer care was very much appreciated, especially as a vegetarian and I felt that it added value to the whole dining experience.
There are a good few choices for vegetarians from the a la carte menu which was great, but just to create a little more balance, I would however like to see a veggie choice in the burger section and perhaps a more creative veggie pasta dish as that would enhance the menu well.
As an overview, the restaurant is classy, with a monochrome interior yet possessing a cosy bistro feel in ye olde Stratford Upon Avon, with echoes of New York and Italy, offering delicious cuisine with excellent customer service in a relaxing setting.
Disclosure: This post has been written following a kind invitation from Marco's Stratford to sample their menus. This review was conducted honestly without bias and I was not required to produce a positive review. For further details of my PR policy, please see the Press, PR & Food Writing page of this website.