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Restaurants & Bars

Market in St. Helena - Good, but ...

sf_dilettante | Jun 8, 200402:57 PM

My wife and I had a chance to visit Market in St. Helena a couple of weekends ago. We have to say that we were slightly disappointed given the pedigree of the founders and chef (ex. Jardiniere and Gary Danko, among others). The interior, wine/cocktail list, and pricing are all superb (esp. the pricing, very reasonable for dinner in Napa valley). The food, while good, was marred in a few spots and left us disappointed.

We started out with the ahi tuna tartare and a mesclun greens salad with beets, radishes, etc. The fish in the tartare was excellent; however, the presence of a cucumber sorbet on top of the tartare marred the dish. As my wife said, "It tastes like grass!" and it didn't really match well with the flavor of the tuna. The salad suffered from a lack of dressing and as a result the greens ended up tasting bitter.

My wife had the macaroni dish as her main course. It was the one dish that truly met our expectations. The complex mix of cheeses, chives, bread crumbs, and macaroni made for a beautiful, creamy texture and was fantastic. If you get this dish, be sure to order a side if you want some variety as it comes with no accompaniments. I had a sliced steak (the particulars escape me at the moment) which was good, but relatively unadventurous. The mashed potatoes were quite plain (some garlic would have made them far more interesting).

Unfortunately, my wife wasn't feeling well by the end of the meal and we didn't get a chance to sample any of the desserts. I saw several tables get the smores, and they looked delicious, if somewhat messey (you make them at your table with a provided lamp/fire, similar to Luna Park).

We went early (6:30) on a Saturday, the crowd was a mix of families (at least 4 or 5 tables with kids), younger couples/groups like ourselves, and a few older folks.

I'd say I was more impressed with Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen than Market. That being said, you'll still get a good meal and an excellent value at Market. I'm curious to know if other folks have different opinions on Market.


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