Saturday, May 9, 2009

Marché Moderne - Costa Mesa

The penthouse of South Coast Plaza is the home of Marché Moderne. It’s been on my list since it opened, and I was even more convinced that I should visit when I read that it was one of the 10 “Now” restaurants according to Orange Coast Magazine. The opportunity presented itself on my birthday, actually. Adorable twins from my classroom gave me a very generous gift certificate, so this post is dedicated to the twins and their family.

Marché Moderne has French bistro setting with white linen table cloths and upholstered chairs. The greeting was genuine, and service was warm. I wanted to order a tasting menu, but the server informed us that you must call ahead for this. Oh drat! Now, I’ll have to study this expansive and diverse menu and do my best to pick our own little tasting menu. I think we found a few that we’d love to have again, so let’s get to it!

We began with the calamari. Dear Ben wasn’t very excited about this decision, but our waiter seemed to truly love the chef’s preparation. While it was gorgeous, we probably wouldn’t order this again. The peeled tomatoes and avocado paste gave the dish a unique twist, but the calamari just didn’t light either of our palettes.


The charcuterie plate was next. I loved that it was served on a wooden cutting board. Why aren’t all charcuterie plates served this way? It just makes sense. The three meats arranged on our board were the house-made duck terrine, salami rosa, and the chorizo rustico. The plate also included French bread, mustard, and baby pickles. We ordered the pickled cauliflower with saffron too, but we never got it.

Charcuterie Platter

The next course was our favorite. The morel mushroom appetizer and beef Carpaccio. The morel mushrooms were prepared simply and elegantly, tossed with a few English peas in a jus and topped with egg white foam. A mini-pot of English peas was also paired alongside the morels. The Snake River Farms American Kobe Beef Carpaccio and Fresh Dungeness Crab was the best of all. The title is a mouthful, and the flavors were equally complex. A brilliant surf and turf appetizer with a truffle remoulade, sundried pineapple slice, and fresh clover. I would go back just for this masterpiece alone. The beef melted right on your tongue, and the Dungeness crab offered a sweet flavor. Get every element of this creation on your fork, close your eyes, and just savor the experience.

Morel Mushrooms & Beef Carpaccio with Dungeness Crab

The sashimi of Japanese Hamachi was delivered just before the dinner entrees. Tender raw pieces of young yellowtail tuna was lick-your-lips good. This was a lovely palette cleanser before dinner, and dinner was on its way!

Sashimi of Hamachi

We had braised meats on our mind tonight. Dear Ben ordered the braised and wood burning roasted Kurobuta pork shank. It is served in a red cast iron pot alongside a vegetable ratatouille and a black and green olive jus. The pork could not have been prepared any better, smooth texture and falling off the bone. I ordered the braised Four Story Hills Farm beef short ribs. I am always drawn to the intense and concentrated flavor that braised short ribs provide, and these were some of the best I’ve had. Roasted fingerling potatoes, cremini mushrooms, bacon, and cippolini onions tied up the dish beautifully.

Braised Pork & Braised Short Ribs

As always, we were stuffed before dessert, but we knew this meal would not be complete without a little something sweet. I love panna cotta, and the fact that it was served with two small doughnut bites made this dessert the easy winner. It had a yogurt taste to it, unlike any I’ve ever had, and it was not my preferred preparation. We ate the raspberries and doughnut bites, but didn’t finish the panna cotta.

Panna Cotta

I wish we could have ended the meal on a high note, but I admit that I might be a bit hard to please. I have high expectations, what can I say? Overall, it was a lovely evening, and I will be back. Perhaps a lunchtime shopping break? Until then…

…and those are my Notes from the Napkin!

Marché Moderne
3333 Bristol St # 3001
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Marche Moderne on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.