Danny Meyer Does Marta…

marta logo

Sunday was a gorgeous winter day in New York City.

We took the streets at 10am and headed downtown to Danny Meyer’s latest conquest, Marta juxtaposed in the lobby of the Martha Washington Hotel.

Fifth Avenue was packed. I assume everyone was out holiday window shopping and buying presents. The stores were all open early.

We dodged the crowds and made it on time to the Martha Washington Hotel on East 29th Street. I now know how Martha’ s husband, George, felt zig zagging his way across the Delaware River.

Marta Restaurant photo: nytimes.com
Marta Restaurant photo: nytimes.com

Marta delivered. We enjoyed an amazing brunch in stylish, yet relaxed surroundings. There was one minor, but resounding glitch. The megaphone voiced, pompous ass sitting next to us was too much to handle at 11am on a Sunday morning. He critiqued every food critic and also announced that restaurants serving pizza are the most profitable because they use cheap ingredients..say what?!

As we recently termed those in France who annoyed us…this guy was Un Sac du Douche.

marta bar

We moved and ended up in the middle of the comfortable, heigh ceiling room next to lovely newlyweds from Atlanta.

Our well informed, adorable server, Alison, guided us efficiently through the menu. She had a wondeful vibe…perhaps she was so calm and endearing because she grew up in the Virgin Islands.

Cicoria Salad
Cicoria Salad

We started with the Cicoria salad which was a mix of chicory, arugula, citrus, parmigiano and hazelnuts ($16). The salad is available in a larger portion for $24. The Cicoria was light with a delightful citrus overtone and a perfect accompaniment to our next selection.

Bruschetta Strappata
Bruschetta Strappata

We were tempted by frittura di zucca ($12) a crispy delicata squash with lemon, the crochette di baccala ($12) consisting of cod, potato and smoked onion mayo which our tablemates adored and the wildly popular polpettine di coniglio, rabbit meatballs with ricotta and black olives ($12). We went with the bruschetta strappata ($9).

It was a velvety fresh ricotta with pistachio and honey along with homemade torn pizza bread, served on a monogrammed wooden board..quite wonderful.

Marta is all about the cracker-thin pizza crust and tempting toppings and we selected the patate alla carbonara from the eleven appetizing choices.

Alison nudged us toward the carbonara since she said it was the perfect breakfast pizza. The restaurant was very accommodating as that particular pizza comes with guanciale and Mr. Devil does not eat meat so they prepared the pizza with half guanciale.

Patate Alla Carbonara
Patate Alla Carbonara

It was delicious, topped with potatoes, black pepper, egg and pecorino…tangy, crispy, light. I often step away from pizzas with eggs unless they are willing to cook the egg well done. I am not a lover of runny yolk. This was made to perfection.

Both red and white pizzas are on the menu and with eleven offerings you can probably order any topping that suits your taste buds. They run from $13-$17 except for the tartufata with bechamel, fontina, ricotta and white truffles for $60.

Marta also offers such brunch items as avocado bruschetta ($7), yogurt with flaxseed granola, cashews and blueberry marmellata ($12), a wood-fired frittata with leeks, fontina, arugula and coppa cotta ($14), sweet grilled bread pudding with apple-ginger compote ($14), beer-brined half chicken ($25) and trout saltimbocca with prosciutto, sage and lemon ($28).

Torta Di Zucca
Torta Di Zucca

Satiated, but curious and always willing to sacrifice my body for my blog, we ordered the torta di zucca…kabocha squash and olive oil cake, cashews and whipped cream ($7). It was unique and I liked that is was more of a savory dessert, but it was not my favorite offering.

Other dessert items included affogato, buckwheat tart, ice cream panino and tiramisu along with gelati and sorbetti.

Chef Nick Anderer photo:nytimes.com
Chef Nick Anderer photo:nytimes.com

One of Danny Meyer’s many talents is discovering promising young chefs. His partner and co-owner at Marta is Nick Anderer, who made magic at their Gramercy restaurant, Maialino. He captures the light and crispy essence of the Roman pizza to perfection.

Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group encompasses the simple to the sublime including NYC restaurants: Shake Shack, North End Grill, Untitled, Blue Smoke (Union Square, Battery Park, JFK, Citi Field, Washington Nationals ballpark), Jazz Standard, Maialino (Gramercy Park Hotel), Cafe 2 & Terrace 5 (Museum of Modern Art), The Modern (Museum of Modern Art) , Gramercy Tavern (always one of my favs) and classic, Union Square Cafe.

With Danny Meyer in the ‘hood, New Yorkers will never go hungry.


It has become a NYC weekend tradition to sample new restaurants during Sunday brunch. It is a fabulous, relaxing introduction to new fare without the high cost of dinner. It also fortifies me and puts me in a good mood to do battle during this season’s onorous NY Giants football games.

On Sundays, I have found that staff are happy and eager to please. If you enjoy the restaurant then go back and sample dinner. If not, no harm, no foul.

Marta was a treat. I loved the food, atmosphere and open kitchen effect.

By the way, in its original form, the Martha Washington hotel was the country’s first women-only hotel. You go girl and you get yourself to Marta, especially for the thin crusted classic and new pizzas.

Marta Restaurant Martha Washington Hotel 29 East 29th Street off of Madison Avenue. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reservations on OpenTable. martamanhattan.com

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