We were wandering around South Coast Plaza (we were actually shopping for a murse for me to carry my laptop in, but we won't dwell on how a formerly football- and rugby-playing man ended up in a position to be shopping for a friggin' pocketbook) and got hungry. We've been to Boudin, I'm done with Champagne, we didn't have enough money for Hamamori and what would the baby eat anyway, so we ended up at Marché Moderne.
Picture this: two people in shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops, with a baby in a stroller, walking into a nice French restaurant for Sunday lunch. If you answered, "Only in Orange County", you're right!
I had the menu ($25 prix fixe), which was a leek-and-bacon quiche with onion salad and olive tapenade; my choice of pork loin with braised cabbage and truffle mousseline or fish meunière with celery mousseline and potatoes, and then almond crème caramel. I also had a glass of Sancerre ($13, which is really what Mario "I'm too Italian for you" Batali would call a "quarto" -- they have "tastes" which is about 3-4 oz. of wine). The quiche was very good, the onion salad not overwhelmingly oniony. The tapenade was excellent but I'm not sure it went with the food. It didn't matter, we used it for bread spread because it was very good. The pork was delicious -- slightly salty but when eaten with the mousseline it was just perfect. The cabbage was great -- wilted and softened but not overcooked, with nice smoky chunks of pork and some sweetness -- apple, probably -- to it. The dessert was deeeeeelicious. Small, but delicious.
My daughter had a pissaladière to which was added Bayonne ham and gruyère and ate two pieces of it. My wife ate the remainder and also had a very large plate of wagyu carpaccio with a big monolith of Dungeness crab atop it (seriously, I was looking for apes worshipping around it). She was blown away by it -- certainly the meat was very good, I wasn't so into the crab itself and I wanted some vegetables somewhere. The pissaladière was very good -- the cheese was soft, the crust was crackly and had that burnt-bubble thing that makes New York pizza so great.
A note for those who may have mobility issues: it is on the third floor of the main mall, near Nordstrom, but there is only an escalator. If you have mobility issues that prevent you using stairs (whether it's a stroller, crutches, a wheelchair, a Rascal, what have you), you will need to use the elevator in Nordstrom -- it is directly opposite the mall entrance, as far away from the mall entrance as you can go. If Nordstrom closes while you're out, you may need to find an elevator in the attached parking structure and that may not be ideal for you.
Lunch was $77 plus tip. The service was very good (but Brandon, please just talk normally -- I speak French with native fluency and your "French" accent was jarring to my ears) and the food was excellent. We'll be back, but not too often because, wow, expensive. Worth it though. Sit on the patio.
3333 Bristol St 3001, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
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