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New seafood-centric restaurant opening in Birmingham

A new restaurant with a heavy influence on seafood from the Mediterranean is set to open in downtown Birmingham.

Debuting Wednesday is Mare Mediterranean, a seafood-forward restaurant with an influence from Greek, Italian and Spanish flavors. Restaurateur Nino Cutraro partnered with Jay Feldman of the Feldman Automotive Group to open the new spot. Cutraro also owns nearby Bella Piatti with his wife, Liz.

Mare Mediterranean is opening in the space formerly occupied by Cameron’s steakhouse at 115 Willits. It’s a space that Cutraro says provided the perfect layout.

The interior was completely renovated, Cutraro says, and customers can expect the space to feature a big bar, open kitchen and lounge area.

Expect an Italian seafood market concept much like what’s found in Italy, Cutraro says. Fish at Mare Mediterranean will be on display for diners to select. Customers will also choose a preferred cooking method, such as grilled, baked or pan-fried.

“What’s different is the quality of the fish and where it comes from,” Cutraro says.  The fish at Mare Mediterranean will be sourced from Greece, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal and Florida.

A fish market will be in front of the open kitchen concept where customers will choose their fish that will be handed off to the kitchen to prepare.

“The restaurant has a lot of influence (from) Greek and Italian food,” Cutraro says.  Food will be prepared with Mediterranean style in mind, he says, using ingredients like olive oil.

On the menu, Cutraro says, customers may see fish that is not so familiar, such as dorado, tai snapper and turbot. Cooking options include baked in white wine with fennel, onions, capers and tomatoes; pan-fried with crispy vegetables, or grilled and served with sauteed greens. There’s also an option of fish baked under salt.

From the raw bar, there’s tuna and salmon sashimi and a branzino ceviche, according to the menu. There are several pasta choices, along with a risotto with seafood and lobster.

For the meat lover, there’s grilled wagyu beef fillet and New York strip, and Colorado lamb chops.  Mare Mediterranean has been in the making for nearly two years and on Cutraro’s mind for some time.

“It’s one of those things that you have an idea and lot of the time that never comes true,” Cutraro says. “This is an idea that me and my group developed and made happen.”

Cutraro calls Mare Mediterranean “the best place I’ve opened.” It’s classic and hip at the same time, he says.

Inside, the 6,800-square-foot restaurant will seat about 200. There’s a lounge area, a separate room where you can have a cocktail with a small table. Two private rooms are available. There’s one for smaller gatherings and another for more than 25, for conferences and meetings. Expect outdoor, sidewalk seating in the summer.

Birmingham, Cutraro says, is an incredible location for restaurants.  “Everything is within walking distance. It’s like an urban setting. You can walk around to shops, coffee houses and to the movies.”

Mare Mediterranean, 115 Willits, Birmingham; Tuesday through Thursday, 4:30-10:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 4:30-11:30 p.m.; Sunday, 4:30-9 p.m. Closed Monday.


Posted By: Detroit Free Press on November 7, 2021.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

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