Ever since reading Food Gal’s blog post about Marché, I knew I wanted to try this restaurant for myself. This past week, I found my birthday to be the perfect excuse to make a reservation and dine at Marché with my family.
I had a wonderful dining experience here and am glad to have chosen this restaurant for a great meal. The restaurant space itself is not very big but it is designed uniquely in the that there are giant glass panels that allow you to look into the kitchen as they prep the food. Although I did not sit at one of the booths by the window, I am sure it would be very exciting to sit and watch as the chefs prepare your meal. The staff at Marché was excellent, presented themselves with professionalism and courtesy, and were very thoughtful. For example, when the waitress noticed that we were all wearing dark pants/dresses, she offered us black table napkins in place of the white ones given so we wouldn’t get lint on our clothing. There aren’t many restaurants that would have the thoughtfulness to notice something like that, and I give them a lot of points for catching it. It was also nice to notice the executive chef, Chef Guillaume Bienaime, regularly making rounds on the dining floor to make sure patrons were enjoying their meals.
In terms of the menu, I must admit that it is not too extensive. The restaurant serves French American cuisine and although the menu is limited, their menu changes often so it makes sense to have a limited menu that can constantly be updated. In addition to the menu, Marché also offers a Prix Fixe three course menu and a Chef’s Tasting Menu that changes weekly. The menu mostly consists of seafood items, although poultry and red meat are also offered. Most of the dishes have delicate flavors and are very fresh. They also offer an extensive wine selection, which was nice since we ordered a bottle of red wine for the occasion.
Now, onto all the food for the evening! First, compliments of the chef was a light tomato tea soup. It had a strong smokey tomato flavor and was very interesting. It’s not something I would go out of my way to order, but definitely something interesting I’ve never tasted before. For my first course, I ordered the Smoked Shrimp and Scallop Soup. The soup was excellent and a great way to start off my meal — it had a strong smokey flavor but at the same time the broth still seemed very fresh and refreshing in taste. There was a good amount of shrimp and scallops, and they were cooked perfectly to compliment the soup.
For the first course, the table also ordered Fruit Carpaccio with Ricotta Cheese, Seared Foie Gras with Glazed Pear, House Cured Salmon with Potato Waffle & Creme Fraiche, and an Autumn Garden Salad. The carpaccio was very light and the cheese gave it a nice contrast and texture. The cured salmon was a very unique dish since I never experienced salmon with a potato waffle before. The waffle was prepared almost like a thick Belgian waffle and the creme fraiche really put the dish together for me. But by far the best first course we tasted that night was the foie gras. The foie gras melted in my mouth like butter and at the same time tasted delicate and light. The glazed pear matched the foie gras perfectly and it was one of the most well prepared dishes of the whole night.
Moving onto the main course, I personally ordered the Pekin Duck Breast. After an incident in New York last summer, I promised myself that if I ever see duck breast on a menu I would order it. The duck was cooked to a perfect medium with just a bit of pink, and the meat had simple and light flavors. The sauce, on the other hand, gave it a much fuller and darker aroma. Although the duck was cooked very well, I admit that I’ve had better from Gotham Bar and Grill in New York.
The table also ordered the California Lamb Saddle, Seafood Broth with Brioche, Columbia River King Salmon, and the Pancetta wrapped Pork Loin. In an effort not to make this post too long, I will say that all the dishes were very well prepared and just hit on the highlights. The broth was completely different from the smoked soup I had at the beginning of the meal. This was a lot lighter and for a lack of a better term, much more delicate (I know I’ve used this word a lot tonight).
The lamb was tender and cooked to a perfect medium and the salmon was also flavorful. But the best main course was definitely the pork loin. Usually I am apprehensive about ordering pork at restaurants because it tends to be overdone or dried out and tough. This was not one of those cases. The pork was juicy and tender and just completely amazing. There was a tangy and sweet sauce that paired with the pork to give it an interesting flavor. Absolutely great!
And finally, dessert. Dessert at Marché was good, but it wasn’t the best dessert I’ve ever had in my life. There wasn’t too much originality that went into the dessert menu, which I found a little disappointing but was happy to order it nonetheless. Collectively, our table ordered the Frangipane Almond Crepe, Pecan Tart, Cinnamon Ice Cream Sandwich, Nyanbo Chocolate “Tortes,” and the Lemon Tart/Cake. I really enjoyed the crepe and pecan tart as they both had great flavors and stood out from the rest fo the desserts. The other desserts were average, so if you’re really picky about your desserts or if you’re indifferent about ordering it, then I would just skip it. It was nice, however, that they stuck a candle on my plate and let me blow out a candle for my birthday. It would have been even nicer though if they had given me a free dessert instead!
Overall I had a really good experience at Marché. The service was excellent and the food was good. I am really glad I came here and will most likely be back again. However, this meal was not cheap. An average first course will cost about $10-15 and a main course will average $30. If you feel like ordering the prix fixe menu, it is $44 per person and the chef’s tasting menu is $65 per person, both before wine pairings. I personally feel like it is worth trying at least once. And if you go, try to request a booth seat by the kitchen so you can see all the chefs hard at work preparing a great meal for you.