Mari, 9th Avenue, New York, NY, USA

(646) 649-3545

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Following the tremendous success of chef Sung Shim’s first solo restaurant, Kochi, he opened Mari in December 2021—right around the corner from its predecessor. With its excellent tasting menu and sleek, laid-back atmosphere it quickly earned its first Michelin star. One of the reasons may be that Mari shines a spotlight on Korean hand rolls—filled with ingredients from mackerel and uni to king oyster mushrooms and Wagyu, and guests have a front row seat to watch the excitement of rolls being created (and dine) at the 30-seat chef’s counter. The atmosphere is calm, and it is an ideal spot for a spontaneous solo dinner at the counter, a pre-theater dinner reservation or a meal among friends.

Upon entering, you will be seated either at the bar or in the intimate dining room in the back, which accommodates 15-20 people in different configurations (two tops, four tops, six tops). The staff is extremely welcoming and knowledgable, and will help pair cocktails, wines and Korean Sools with your meal. With the starters, you may want to begin with something slightly sweet like the Kinpoyeaju, and then move into a more savory flavor such as the Yangchon, which has earthier notes (think mushrooms). Sitting at the chef's counter allows you to take in all of the preparation, teamwork, skill and attention to detail that goes into each course on the menu, or even one Mari hand roll. The tasting menu changes, regularly, but the theme remains the same: an amuse-bouche course with fresh flavors, seasonally inspired hand rolls, a main dish and a two-part dessert. To properly enjoy your meal,  leave two to two-and-a-half hours to savor every bite and enjoy the experience.

The innovative tasting menu incorporates distinctive fresh flavors and plays with different textures: From the very first dish—a cold soup with chunks of watermelon providing a cool burst alongside a kick of heat from the spices within the broth—you can tell it is going to be an amazing meal. It was followed  by Suran, which consists of a poached egg, corn soubise, parmesan foam and caviar. Watching the chefs prepare the Mari was truly impressive; three types of mushrooms in one, a crunchy base of the shrimp (which was mixed with a peach marmalade) in another. Everything was prepared meticulously, with the Wagyu saved for last (make sure to add the freshly grated truffle supplement, if available). Each bite melts in your mouth. The menu also comes with an interactive main course, a cold noodle dish that comes with four different little bowls of ingredients that you combine to your liking. And to finish, a two-part dessert—the almond tart with honey and apricot, paired with hojicha ice cream, was delicious.


Written by Sydney Lapin

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