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When I heard this past spring that Philadelphia’s Marco’s would be moving from its humble home on Arch Street to larger, tonier digs on Vine Street, I feared the worst: jacked-up prices, an overburdened kitchen and an expensive wine list replacing its BYO policy. After several visits to Marco’s new location next door to the Painted Bride Art Center, I am happy to report that my fears have been put to rest. The new restaurant is literally quadruple the size of the old space. The front houses a sleek and spacious bar area with several tables at which to sip your drinks while you wait to be seated. A short flight of stairs leads to the dining area, an expanse of persimmon-colored walls, tapestry-covered banquettes and numerous tables with high-backed chairs to accommodate large groups as well as twosomes. And no description of the new Marco’s would be complete without mention of the fact that it possesses a rare commodity in Philadelphia — its own parking lot. Judging from the quality of the food and the expanded menu, it appears that owner and executive chef Marco Carozza and his staff are enjoying the elbow room in their new kitchen. Marco’s continues to offer freshly cooked food in homemade sauces inspired by a wide variety of cuisines, including Asian, Mediterranean and Caribbean. The portions are generous, especially given the reasonable prices, which range from $5.50 to $8 for appetizers, $4.50 to $7 for salads, and $9.75 to $16 for entrees. The pear salad with cumin-toasted walnuts and Danish blue cheese ($6.50) — a generous portion of Belgian endive dressed in a light vinaigrette with chunks of tangy blue cheese and thinly sliced pears — is a great way to start the meal. If you are feeling a little more indulgent, I recommend the pan-fried polenta ($5.50) as an appetizer. It consists of a perfectly prepared square of polenta — not too firm, not too mushy — with melted blue cheese and three types of saut�ed mushrooms. You also can’t go wrong with the cilantro panko shrimp ($8), a generous serving of butterflied shrimp in a crispy, non-greasy crust with a sesame soy dipping sauce that is surprisingly unsalty. The list of entrees has something for everyone — from fettuccine with garlic and oven-dried tomatoes ($8) for the vegetarian to grilled New York strip steak with portobello mushrooms ($16) for the unabashed carnivore. Marco’s also offers a wide array of fish dishes, from the Mediterranean-inspired olive-coated, pan-seared tilapia ($13.50), rich with the flavor of calamata olives, to the Barbados pan-seared salmon ($14.50), which features a tangy sauce and two salsas — mango and banana. One my fellow diners thoroughly enjoyed her spinach ravioli with sea scallops ($14.00). Unlike the ravioli dishes at so many restaurants, Marco’s offering up a generous portion of spinach-stuffed pasta, each topped with a plump scallop. If you, like me, cannot say no to homemade mashed potatoes, Marco’s offers some of the best in the city. For $3.25, you receive a heaping bowl of potatoes — enough for two or three people to share — with just the right amount of garlic mixed in. The menu features numerous other side dishes, including grilled asparagus in aioli ($4.25), saut�ed broccoli rabe, radicchio and arugula ($4.50), and corn on the cob grilled with cayenne butter and cotija cheese ($4). For those of you who wish to imbibe, Marco’s wine list, like its menu, is varied and reasonably priced. The list ranges from a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ($15) to a Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc ($50). The menu also features several wines by the glass and a good selection of locally brewed beers, including Victory Hop Devil Ale and Stoudt’s American Pale Ale, on tap. A note on the menu recommends that you save room for dessert. This is advice well taken. The chocolate pot du cr�me ($3.50), a personal favorite, is a perfect hybrid of chocolate pudding and chocolate mousse, creamy in texture with a roasty, chocolate flavor. For the more adventurous, I recommend the deviled strawberries ($5), a heaping portion of strawberries soaked in balsamic vinegar served with strawberry sorbet. If there are any signs of growing pains, it is in the service. On the whole, the staff, with the exception of the veterans from the old location, seems inexperienced and untrained. A friend described the service at Marco’s when he visited with a large party as “disastrous” — some diners’ plates arrived 20 minutes later than others, and the server explained that the missing food had been delivered to the wrong table. On one of my visits there, we waited more than 15 minutes for a server to acknowledge our presence. In Marco’s defense, though, the staff did realize their error and gave us our first round of drinks on the house. All in all, the new Marco’s is a satisfying dining experience — attractive surrounding, interesting and varied flavors — at prices that will encourage you to become a regular. Marco’s on Vine, at 228 Vine St., is open Sunday-Friday, 5-10 p.m. and Saturday 5-11 p.m. Most major credit cards are accepted; reservations are encouraged. Phone: 215-592-8887.

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