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Restaurants & Bars 1

Marche - surprisingly good (long)

dickson d | May 2, 200402:18 PM

Having slammed Saiko and Red Light, I found myself back at Marche after a number of years. Motivated by $50 coupons, which turned out not to work on Saturdays, so at the last minute I tried to switch to Blackbird or Spring - no luck, or actually good luck.

The place was 1/2 empty at 8 on a Saturday, though it filled up quite a bit and then thinned out while we dined. The industrial disco beat was incessant. But the food was mostly excellent. Marche is working on Bistro food in its latest incarnation. We sampled the following:

Cassoulet with homemade sausage and roast pork: very untraditional with loads of bread crumbs, fresh thyme and braised pork shoulder, and a fair amount of butter. Also very moist and tasty.

House cured salmon - light and excellent.

Grilled pear salad with blue cheese toast, endives, frisee and walnut oil vinaigrette. Just great. Maybe the best dish of the night.

Shaved artichoke salad. Good texture, okay flavor.

Cream of cepes - very rich and creamy, full of mushroom flavor.

Main courses were:

steak frites - possibly the low point, a giant 12 oz steak with okay fries and good char to it, but it was too big to be a real bistro steak and too chewy to be a big, delectable steak.

Braised Lamb shank with vegetables on a bed of tiny lentils - also damned close to perfection. Large, meaty, great crispy vegies. Actually, all the main courses, except the steak, had a nice complement of vegies.

White wild alaskan salmon in a cream sauce on a bed of mashed potatos surrounded by a puree of some root veg (notes do not say, sorry). Quite good. The white dish was also sort of fun.

Grilled Bass with fennel. Also quite tasty.

Finished with Meyer Lemon Sorbet, and their Banana Creme Brulee both quite tasty, as well as some interesting after dinner drinks (calvados, quaddy essensia, cline late harvest mourvedre) - we had brought our own wines, but the list seemed promising and priced okay. Corkage is only $15, so our 99 central coast chard and 95 brunello were a better deal.

Surprisingly, I would definitely go back for the food. Damned good and on a par with the best Bistros around right now, IMO. Lamb shank, pear salad, banana creme brulee or sorbet of the day would make a fine meal any time. On the other hand, that music was a little jarring, tho not too loud.


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