Marcus B&P is a new-American restaurant opened in 2017 on Halsey Street by gourmet chef Marcus Samuelsson. After owning and operating successful New York City restaurants, selling his cookbooks, winning awards and appearing on cooking shows and competitions on TV, Samuelsson fused his gourmet style with a Newark-style feel for Marcus B&P.
To match the cacophony of city noise just outside, the restaurant has an equally diverse range of artwork across the walls that ground the restaurant to the city.
One dish we tried was the Fish of the Day: a fried branzino with crispy fries on the side, more commonly referred to as fish and chips. The fries were crispy, in a very satisfying way, but only mildly oily and almost not salty. This is fine because it is a mild side piece to the branzino, which had a perfect mix of oily, salty and sweet on top of the crispy fried outer layer. To keep the dish from being too oily or too crispy, the creamy and rich tartar sauce carried the dish over the finish line with a strong, but not overpowering tang that put the fries to work on the plate. Paired with an Italian Peroni beer, lunch was one of the best plates of fish and chips around.
The other dish we tried was the Sandwich of the Day: carne asada, cheese, lettuce and a complementary sauce on a Portuguese roll. Although the sandwich may seem basic, the flavor and texture from each part of the sandwich created a combination that was unique, allowing for each component of the sandwich to be tasted without being overwhelming as a whole. This dish also came with a side of chili that complemented the sauce. Even though the dish seemed small, it was filling and satisfying enough with a flavor that is not commonly seen in dishes of this style.
Though the dishes were splendid, some problems arose. We had a table to sit at, but the tables were so small and close together that we heard about the struggles of two teachers to one side and the board-room disputes of two businessmen on our other. The proximity made for some awkward eye contact with people across from what might as well have been a picnic table.
Another issue was that the menu, though diverse, did not seem to cater to vegetarians and definitely not to vegans. Considering how many people at NJIT have such dietary restrictions, and considering the increase in popularity of veganism and vegetarianism in the recent past, Marcus B&P might not be for you.
Problem three is the cost. If you’re trying to get good lunch on a budget, you’re already on Halsey Street where almost every restaurant has very good food at very good prices. A lunch for two people here cost us about $50, though we can’t say that we regret having spending that much.
If my parents or brother or close family friends came into town and I wanted to show off the best of Newark, Marcus B&P is where I would take them. It’s a bright side of Newark, and those close seats meant I could see all the faces of people truly enjoying some of the best food on this side of the Hudson River.