Beyond the sea
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Call to make a reservation at Due Mari, and the friendly host asks if it’s for a special occasion. But even if you’re not marking a birthday or anniversary, the answer is yes. Turns out, even just a “regular” meal at this New Brunswick spot is worth celebrating.
Before you even get to the food, the airy space itself is impressive: a large, sleek, circular bar is an immediate attention-grabber as you enter. its rich, dark-wood tones are repeated in the main dining space, which exudes a casual, modern elegance. Tuck into your table, and you’re soon greeted by the first of two waiters who work in tandem to guide you through your meal.
Much of the emphasis here is on seafood (Due Mari is Italian for “two seas”), and so we dove right in with our antipasti selections. First up was the cozze—Mediterranean mussels that were some of the plumpest we’ve seen. The tender, meaty mollusks were steamed with house-cured bacon, fingerling potatoes, corn kernels and fresh tomatoes. After slurping our way through the entire bowl, we used the grilled foccaccia to soak up every last drop of the smoky, sea-salty broth.
Our second starter, the sepia, showed the versatility of both seafood and the chef. Strands of chilled cuttlefish—slightly chewy yet still tender—were topped with capers, black olives and tomato concasse, then drizzled with anchovy vinaigrette. While it may sound like salt overload, the dish was miraculously light and refreshing.