Mari.ne (MariNe) Hand-Roll Bar is similar to KazuNori where it’s simply a “hand roll” bar. The hand rolls are fairly small, but quite delightful and fresh. You can order them in different flavors, and it’s sure to satisfy anyone that enjoys sushi in hand roll format. We were able to walk in at around 5:45 PM on a Monday evening, but we were told that we had to be done by 6:30 PM due to an upcoming reservation. More on this in a bit.
Straight from the website:
Chef Sunchul Shim, celebrated for earning a Michelin star at both his skewer restaurant, Kochi, and his handroll restaurant, Mari, welcomes you to his latest venture, Mari.ne. The name “Mari” in Korean implies a roll, and “ne” represents “the house of,” crafting an ambiance where guests can savor handrolls with sake, soju, beer and makgeolli in a relaxed environment.
Mari.ne is a fusion handroll bar where Korean and Japanese cuisines intertwine, offering a unique blend of flavors. The menu is reminiscent of comforting home-cooked meals, presenting an array of handroll sushi, which combines integrity and the wholesome goodness of honest, healthy food.
Ambiance & Service
The bar setup is fairly small and tight. The seats are fixed to the floor, so you can be elbow-closed to others. Under the counter table, there are small hooks for bags. Along the walls, there are also hooks for your coats. When we sat down, immediately the server swarmed to ask what we would like to drink, and within a minute, they immediately pressured us to order food. Luckily, I was prepared already, but I have never seen service swarm so fast in this manner before in such an inelegant way.
When we ordered, there was a pretty lengthy delay before we received our first hand roll. After the first one, they were delivering rolls quicker in a rush manner, and we were rapidly approaching the 6:30 PM time frame. They began cleaning our dishes while we were eating and others around us. It felt like a very fast and go type of restaurant, though there was a couple that was bantering for a while.
The service is something that is poor for a restaurant in general, so just take note when they ask for a tip on their tablet. It defaults to 22%, so don’t feel rushed by them if you’d like to pick some other denomination.
We both ordered the 5 hand roll set ($27) which includes a fatty tuna, salmon, yellowtail, fluke, and spicy tuna roll.
The Milkis ($4) tasted like yakult, which is a slightly sour probiotic drink. The difference than normal yakult was that this was fizzy.
The Fatty Tuna was decent, though it was really like 3 bites. They do offer you 2 dips on the side: their own housemade soy sauce or a spicy mustard sauce. Both were decent with the fatty tuna, though the tuna was minced already.
The Salmon was my partner’s favorite, and it did have decent flavors too. You can taste they add some sort of pickling to each of these rolls, so it’s not as one dimensional as what the protein might say.
The Yellowtail was the least favorite of the five hand rolls because it wasn’t as fatty or flavorful as the others. Regardless, it was decent.
The Fluke had some kick added to it, but that was about it.
The Spicy Tuna was decent though it tasted like there were a load of dried bonito flakes in it. It definitely is not your standard spicy tuna from restaurants where it was presented with creamy textures. This one tasted more dry.
The Crab ($6.25) hand roll was ordered a’la carte, and it was ok. They give you a decent amount of what seemed like blue crab, but all the seasoning otherwise is very similar to the other hand rolls we had.
The Mini Pho ($9.50) came hot with braised wagyu brisket broth, vermicelli noodle, and its usual condiments. In the spice rack, they had a pho spicy sauce (similar to sriracha) to add. The broth itself was not as tasty as other pho soups, but it was decent. There really was nothing special about this.
The Wang Mandu ($4.50) was a steamed dumpling with pork, chive, and dubu. It was meaty, juicy, and fairly dense. I would probably order a few of these over the mini pho. The sauce is a vinegar like.
Between KazuNori and Mari.ne, I think Mari.ne has better flavors overall, and the price is fine comparably. However, the service is pretty rushed, and there’s really not much special about this. The add-ons are not must-haves, so don’t worry about ordering it if you don’t want to. For a hand roll spot near Bryant Park or the theaters, this place is decent, but just know you wouldn’t come here for the service. It’s definitely fast casual.
Definitely don’t skip on the add-ons! The mini pho was one of the best pho I had in the city (it is so hard to find good pho here!) The broth was so light, flavorful, and comforting and the noodles were the perfect texture – smooth, slippery, slightly softened and chewy.
Maybe this is this Elitist being deceptive, but the mini pho borders below mediocre. It is light, but it has not that much flavor. The noodles were a little al dente, so if that’s your thing, then that’s fine. Otherwise, you can skip the add-ons. This Elitist is just doing what Elitists do: market everything up!
The nori or seaweed is crunchy and can be a little difficult to chew and it’s not soggy. I decided on the 4 handroll set which includes fatty tuna, yellowtail, shrimp, and spicy tuna. Surprisingly I was full from eating 4 handrolls.
If you’re a small person with not much of an appetite, then 4 hand rolls probably is enough. Just keep in mind the hand rolls are pretty small. I think after the 5 hand roll meal with appetizers, you won’t be stuffed to the brim, but you will be reasonably full.
- Nov 6, 2023 - Initial revision.