This is a small Marin restaurant which, despite being in decidedly upscale Ross, is a moderately priced, extremely pleasant California/Provencal restaurant with a nice terrace and a great wine list. The menu is not large, but well planned and changes seasonally. We shared a charcouterie appetizer, a shaved zucchini and arugula salad (did not know I prefered raw to cooked zuch), my wife had the fine gnocchi with chanterelles and I had the perfectly cooked and tasty Niman pork chop with fabulous corn spoon bread. For desert, she chose the peach galette with the fabulous crust and I had the creme brulee, a wonderfully eggy custard. We had a split of a rather innocuous sparkler and a bottle of an inexpensive ($43) Chassagne Montrachet that was worth more than that and a perfect choice with our combination of entrees. The entire meal with wine came to $150.
We sat on the terrace, it being a perfect temperature for al fresco dining, and watched the setting sun illuminate the peak of Mt. Tam. We were joined briefly by an unobtrusive neighborhood cat and enjoyed a toddler exploring the property, so it's good for families, and it's quiet enough to converse easily. (There is not much street noise in Ross even on a Friday night; it is frowned upon in a town where postal delivery is not allowed and leaf blowers get one hour a day at noon.)
I could find some faults: the charcouterie was merely nice, a standard selection of prosciutto, olives, St. George cheese, and so on. Not up to the standard of the rest of the meal.(Should have had the great looking soup that went to our neighbor table.) The chop had some cherry tomatoes that added nothing but a color. The gnocchi had some kernels of sweet corn among the mushrooms which did not, to me, meld with the dish. However, the chef, Dan Baker, does everything himself, and is determined to use local produce in season. So what the heck, I don't mind him trying the corn. In fact, later this summer he is doing a special Brentwood corn evening featuring corn throughout a five course meal.
This is the kind of thing that makes me love this place. Dan Baker does what he does really well, but without slipping into a rut. His wife Holly is the hostess/wine steward and has made a great selection of mostly French wine at a wide price range and has never steered me wrong. They are friendly and the service is always friendly and efficient but even less obtrusive than the cat. I have been interested in reading here and in the press about Michael Mina. I am sure that the food there is finer, more haute, more self-consciously creative and with more unique ingredients and that an evening there would be more of an event, not to mention expense, than Marche aux Fleurs. But Dan and Holly would not put their monogram on the napkins, the doors, the toilet paper, and Michael Mina would not be likely to go to buy the sweet corn himself. Every neighborhood should have a place like Marche aux Fleurs.
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