Oh, Astoria, fine-you're finally the coolest kid on the culinary block. Mar's, a charming oyster bar plucked out of another century, is a good example of why: with its weathered seaside tavern décor, whitewashed walls, and curving bar, you'll feel dropped into a sun-bleached, turn-of-the-century photo. Most of the menu is given over to raw seafood and New England classics; part, to Mediterranean tavern small plates like sweetbreads and steak tartare. Kick things off with the excellent Mar's chowder, bobbing with briny clams, tender potatoes, bacon, and thyme. Then move on to sautéed sweetbreads with buttery fingerlings, pickled onion, and a swirl of balsamic reduction; or the house lobster roll kicked up with salty batons of Granny Smith apple.
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