220-33 Northern Blvd., Bayside
Credit Cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express
Hours: 11a.m.-11:30p.m Mon-Thurs, 11a.m.-midnight Fri-Sun
Marbella is a fancy restaurant, but not the kind of fancy where portions are so small that customers will leave with an empty stomach. It’s the kind of fancy that includes tuxedoed waiters, heavy linen tablecloths that drape past the knees and generous portions of hearty, meat-and-fish-based dishes.
Patrons are greeted with “Hola, como estas?” as they descend half a dozen steps and enter the elegant Bayside restaurant, which features authentic Spanish cuisine. Chandeliers provide gentle light and framed Spanish artwork hangs on walls while melodic Spanish music serve as background to predominately quiet, intimate conversations.
Many of the patrons are older Bayside residents and loyalists who say they have been coming there for decades.
As guests browse the extensive menu of meat and vegetarian options, attentive staff, who have worked at the restaurant for decades, make themselves available to answer questions.
Pre-meal, they provide toasted bread with the perfect juxtaposition of crust on the outside, and soft, melt in your mouth white on the inside. It was accompanied by fresh carrot slices and green olives with a hint of smoky flavor.
Server Louis recommended the seafood with avocado special as an appetizer.
“We change the specials, but the avocado we have to put there all the time,” he said.
The dish created a beautiful impression.
Red pepper slices and raw onion rings balanced upright to create structures while the lobster meat, large and small shrimp, and shellfish rested on a bed of lettuce. The seafood was infused with the flavor of olive oil, lemon, herbs, and black pepper, and the creamy half an avocado made a nice pairing with the seafood.
General Manager Juan Estevez suggested the Flambéed duck as a main course. “It’s delicious and a beautiful show at the same time,” he said.
After Chef Esteban Barroso, who was classically trained in Madrid, initially cooked the duck, Louis brought it out on a cart which held a burner, a bottle of Brandy, and a bottle of Grand Marnier, as well as another sauce, and four orange slices. He placed the duck on the burner and then poured the two liquors over it simultaneously, creating a giant flame that leapt up from the plate. Unfazed, he resumed cooking and poured another homemade sauce over the duck. Just a minute later, he shut off the fire and presented the finished product, two duck thighs with crispy, seared skin that covered perfectly-done meat. The sweet yet citrus-flavored sauce complimented the rich, fatty flavor of the duck, as did the perfectly ripe and juicy orange slices. The duck was accompanied by lightly cooked green beans with oil and salt, and carrot slices.
The meal was complete with flambéed crepes filled with custard, and a ball of vanilla ice cream.
Marbella also caters events and has a reception room.