LIFESTYLE

New in Bushwick, Marie’s is an Italian spot with an NYC heart  

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Born and raised on the Lower East Side in the 1970s and ’80s — he was literally born in a yellow cab heading uptown somewhere on First Avenue — the Dominican chef has been working in kitchens since he was 17, including long stints at the renowned Filipino spots Maharlika and Jeepney. Ten years ago Trinidad moved to Bushwick, started a family and, among other gigs during the early pandemic, acted as a consultant at the local Caribbean favorite, Sally Roots.

The guy’s a city kid, through and through.

So when Trinidad got the opportunity to open his own restaurant, taking over the Sally Roots lease on Wyckoff Avenue, he knew he wanted to create what he calls “a love letter to the flavors of New York.” And so we get Marie’s, named after his Italian-American wife (it’s her middle name), which serves as an ode to his beloved home wrapped inside a charming neighborhood pasta place.

The core of the menu here are the pastas and, though it’s still in soft-open mode, the star of the show is Trinidad’s chopped cheese raviolo, which sounds like a gimmick (and likely will “go viral”), but is also a terrific dish. The plate-sized dumpling comes stuffed with a hefty portion of juicy, well-seasoned, aged ground beef. It’s fun, it’s hearty and luscious, and the flavors — funky meat, sharp onion, an undertone of adobo — really explode.

Chopped cheese raviolo (Photo by Scott Lynch)

Other pasta winners include the duck ropa vieja, which came inside some thick-skinned tortelloni, and the spicy vodka rigatoni. Next time I’m trying Trinidad’s lamb patty white ragu (his salute to the city’s great halal carts) on top of spaghetti, and the spinach pappardelle.

Duck ropa vieja tortelloni, $26 (Photo by Scott Lynch)

There’s a couple of salads on the menu — the castelfranco Caesar went well with all that pasta — and a few other vegetable sides, such as mushrooms with pistachio pesto and shaved asparagus.

And Trinidad has big plans for Marie’s vegetables. “There’s a space downstairs that we’re turning into a vertical garden,” he tells us. “We will be growing and cultivating our own mushrooms, microgreens, whatever we can grow. We’d like to get about 40 percent of our produce grown in-house.”

Appetizers are led by focaccia with calabrian chili butter, fried olives stuffed with sausage, and a stellar smoked octopus tentacle topped with pickled eggplant and toum aioli. Among the “secondi” options is Trinidad’s porchetta, which he chops up fine and roasts in a skillet like a Filipino sisig. Dessert during the soft open is limited to gelato. Expect changes and expansions in the coming weeks.

Spicy vodka rigatoni, $18 (Photo by Scott Lynch)

Marie’s can function as a booze-and-snacks spot as well, with a big bar area up front. Cocktails run about $15, a “frozen martini for two” can cost $40, beers are all under $10 and a glass of wine averages about $14 a pop. There’s also a comfortable, and quite elegant, dining room back past the open kitchen, and — huge bonus — a spacious backyard.

Smoked octopus, $21 (Photo by Scott Lynch)

“So far the experience has been phenomenal,” says Trinidad. “I’m feeding my neighbors, and this neighborhood is great. It’s where my kids were born, and I’d like to be here as long as possible. Cooking is in my bones. Being on the line, being in the zone, feeling that energy — I love what I do.”

Photo by Scott Lynch)

Marie’s is located at 195 Wyckoff Avenue, between Harman and Himrod Street, and is currently open on Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to midnight, on Friday until 2 a.m., on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., and on Sunday from 11 to 10, with brunch served both weekend days.   

The post New in Bushwick, Marie’s is an Italian spot with an NYC heart   appeared first on Brooklyn Magazine.



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