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I never get to Decatur as often as I would like, but every time I’m there, I always love it and I always say, “I should spend more time here.” I was reminded of this when I visited MAR restaurant on a recent August evening. From MAR’s website: “Executive Chef Joey Zelinka brings his expertise from The Sound Table, Rathbun’s and 4th & Swift, along with a vast knowledge of coastal cuisine gleaned from growing up in Miami.”
MAR was previously a restaurant known as Feast. Feast and it’s owner were beloved by the Decatur neighborhood. Unfortunately, she was struck by breast cancer and forced to shutter Feast. In honor of her, MAR donates a portion to every glass of Rose purchased to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Cocktails are very creative. We tried the El Jefe with pineapple, basil and cilantro. I would have liked to try the El Diablo with jalapeno infused into the tequila. But the wine list distracted me. I tried a Spanish white I’d never heard of: Albarino. Tasty and a good pairing for seafood for those who seeking an alternative to Chardonnay. Mr. ARB had an outstanding Tempranillo as well. The wine was extraordinary.
For starters, we sampled the Octopus, MAR Ceviche (they spell it cebiche) and the Swordfish Carpaccio. While pretty, the Octopus was a bit mushy. However, the Ceviche was outstanding. We barely touched the chips they gave us to go with it, chowing down on all the tuna, snapper, shrimp and calamari by itself.
The rest of the menu is divided into tacos and larger entrees. While the tacos (which come two to a plate) are reasonable at $8.50, they are quite small. So, if you order several starters, these tacos would leave you full, but don’ think you could eat them alone and leave full. Since we had had plenty of seafood, I ordered the pork confit with black bean puree and chipotle cream sauce. I loved the pork but didn’t taste any kick from the cream sauce.
For mains, we ordered the Mahi and the since we wanted something from the wood oven, we choose the lamb chops. The Mahi was flaky, tasty and a generous portion of two pieces for only $16. The lamb chops were plentiful too. I have mostly stopped ordering lamb chops at restaurants because I don’t want to pay upwards of $30 for two paltry chops. But these were large and filling and the cost was only $24. The serrano salsa verde was a nice addition, and the green chile creamed corn was a terrific side too.
If you haven’t been to the beach in a while, trek out to MAR in Decatur. The beachy decor, creative cocktails, and Miamiesque cuisine almost makes you feel you are there.