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Sellers Market -- artisan, not artful

david kaplan | Apr 19, 200504:44 PM

In a fit of enthusiasm I ate both breakfast and lunch at Sellers Market today. Though they just opened yesterday, everything seems to be up and running efficiently. I had the ham and cheese tartine for breakfast, and the pancetta cobb salad for lunch.

In both cases my food was -- as promised -- built from good ingredients, but was assembled artlessly. The ham and cheese tartine was a piece of bread, some dry scrambled eggs, a pile of ham, and slices of cheese, piled high and cooked in their oven. Unlike other cafes' breakfast sandwiches (it is listed on the menu under 'breakfast') it was open-faced -- not very conducive to taking it to my office and eating at my desk. So, when I ate it at their counter, everything tumbled off the bread when I took the first bite. There was nothing to keep the tartine intact and I was left with good ingredients that didn't hang together. It needed something either wet (less-cooked eggs? a creamy sauce?) or confining (a top piece of bread?) to keep it all together.

My lunchtime pancetta cobb salad was based on good mixed greens, which I liked better than the usual romaine lettuce. And the pieces of pulled rotisserie chicken were the highlight. But they omitted the promised blue cheese, and the pancetta was either indetectable or missing. My friend fared worse with her caesar's salad, which came with soggy croutons.

Each meal was $7-8. For that price, I would have been much happier with either a ham and cheese croissant or a Croque Monsieur from Tartine for breakfast, and a Cobb salad from Cafe Madeleine for lunch. Cafe Madeleine's Cobb salad, generous with both the cheese and the thick pieces of bacon, is still my gold standard.

Curious to hear about others' experiences.

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