240 Central Park S., nr. Broadway; 212-582-5100
When you think about it, it’s not a bad idea for its own restaurant concept, a crudo-and-pasta bar. The one at Marea is tucked into a remote space behind the bar proper and next to the kitchen, and is manned by the upscale Italian restaurant’s version of a squad of sushi chefs. It’s where you’ll be ushered when you order the twelve-course, $125 “Le Collezione” tasting menu, a gleaming procession of six pristine morsels of raw seafood, accessorized in vaguely Italian fashion, followed by five not-exactly-stingy primi portions of pasta, three of which (the fusilli, the rigatoni, and the agnolotti) are on our top-twenty-pasta-dishes-of-the-moment list. Plus, of course, dessert—lately, a fudgy gianduja. Elegance followed by indulgence. Pure protein and then a pastapalooza.