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The Victim: Roger, whom I met on the Internet. Chowhound, that is.
The Damage: £60ish?
The Background: So one night, I think I came home from somewhere and was trolling Chowhound, trying to help the legions of American tourists find the best fish and chips in London. (I haven’t found it yet. I like the Golden Hind, but the fries are crap.) I saw this post from Roger, saying that he was in town for a few days and his dinner plans had fallen through and did anyone want to join him at Marco. Feeling adventurous, I said yes and spent a lovely evening with the very interesting and foodie-lific Roger, sometime travel agent, sometime chef, and writer of the culinary sorts.
And I am a terrible person because I’ve–once again–ignored my mother’s advice and neglected to send a follow-up thank you note. (Sarah, if you’re reading this, I’m sending you one, I promise. Your gifts were perfect and wonderfully unexpected. You shouldn’t have.)
The Entrance: I meet Roger at his hotel, which is conveniently located right next to Marco. Roger, you didn’t know this, but I had to send many texts to my friend Feathers to let her know that you are a wonderful person and that you were not going to murder me between courses of foie gras.
Friends are funny that way.
We head over to the restaurant and I like it upon entering. You know I am a sucker for tilework. I like the floor. I like the ladies loo (although for a new restaurant, those stall doors should close). I like my kir royale at the bar. In short, we are off to a good start.
The Food: Ah, never, never wait a while before writing your review. I remember that Roger had the scallops and they looked fun. It was a generous portion. I tried a bit and they were really nice. I want to say I had something salmon-y? And that it was nice? But not so nice that I will remember it forever. Sigh.
More about The Food: The maitre’d recommends the pigeon stuffed with foie gras. He says it’s amazing. I like pigeon. I’ve come a long way from that day in 2000 in that terrible hotel in Southern China where they wheeled the deep-fried pigeon around the lazy susan in front of me and I refused to eat it.
Pigeons, I declared, are dirty birds! Rats with wings!
But then I went to France (many times) and become a sucker for pigeon. (Which you must, of course, pronounce not as pij-un but rather pij-EE-ohn. It makes all the difference.)
So I am excited for my pigeon at Marco. So very excited. And then it arrives. And it’s pigeon wrapped in cabbage. And I somehow missed that cabbage part. Now I like cabbage…I like kimchee. So I give it a shot. And well, not only is it wrapped in cabbage, but it’s also very very plain. This dish, that I thought would be so amazingly decadent and delicious, NEEDS SALT. And I feel a little bad about putting salt on Marco’s creation. So I don’t. But hindsight–which is always 20/20–says I should have. Hmmm. (And now I wonder because I just read Marina’s review in the Metro and she says the pigeon is the best dish she had.)
The Dessert: Now this, I remember! We split a lemon tart (only one of my favorite things in the entire world) and a tarte tatin for two. The lemon tart was really really lovely. I prefer mine a little more solid, but still, this was a great lemon tart. The tarte tatin was a little OTT for me. (OTT = Over the Top. Just in case you didn’t know that.) Many people would like it though. And I didn’t dislike it. It was just too too much, if you know what I mean.
The Verdict: You know, if Chelsea (the team) invited me to lunch, or someone going to a Chelsea match invited me to lunch, I’d go back to Marco. But I can’t imagine that happening anytime soon. So there’s that.