COBBLE HILL — Marco Polo Ristorante has reopened after extensive renovations, and while the look of the eatery has changed, the traditional Italian cuisine hasn’t, the owner said.
After the makeover, the restaurant itself is barely recognizable. On the outside, the old green awnings have been swapped for red. Inside, tablecloths are no longer used, the décor is more modern, and the whole dining room is anchored by new, sprawling photos of Venice.
“Over the years, the neighborhood has changed,” said Marco Chirico, 24, who owns the restaurant with his father, Joseph. “Now, the old-fashioned look with fancy tablecloths and fine dining is disappearing."
Marco Polo Ristorante, located at 345 Court St., has served traditional, high-end Italian cuisine in the neighborhood for nearly 30 years, so naturally seafood and pasta are popular items on the menu.
The chef chose gnocchi all’aragosta with lobster for the restaurant’s signature dish because the seafood and pasta combo has always been the most popular among customers.
“People love lobster,” Chirico said.
For the dish, the chef starts by boiling the potatoes. Then, he blends the potatoes with ricotta cheese, salt and pepper.
“The other ingredients, I can’t tell you because it’s a secret in the family,” Chirico said.
The lobster, which is sourced from Hunts Point, is boiled for five minutes, cut in half and then sautéed with the natural juices of the lobster. Finally, the lobster is placed on the dish.
The chef adds fava beans to the juice left over from the lobster, a little bit of tomato broth, gnocchi, and the entire mixture is sautéed. All vegetables are sourced from Forest Hills Produce, also in the Bronx.
“Check on your salt and pepper," Chirico added of the nearly finished product, "and then you play it up."