Marché Moderne's Market Is A Feast For the Senses

As I mentioned recently, Marché Moderne is celebrating two years at South Coast Plaza with a two-night special tasting menu and market for diners. Last night was the first night; I attended--and also Twittered about the experience.

The food was superb, the dishes showcasing top-tier produce from the restaurant's suppliers, who also came to sell their wares at the market.

A corner of the restaurant's rooftop patio was taken over by seven vendors, selling everything from flowers--including real lavender!--from Bonne Fleur to baskets of farm-fresh mushrooms and beets (West Central Produce) to iced crustacea (Santa Monica Seafood).

The proprietors were keen to engage the enthusiastic buyers and browsers in conversation about their produce, and food in general.

As for the tasting menu, it's not cheap--$75, plus $35 for the optional French wine pairing--but it's good. The vegetable course--nothing more than a minimalist line of baby vegetables, Meyer lemon chutney and sauce mousseline--proved that simple needn't mean boring. Also memorable was the yakitori of lobster and sweetbread, a combination that works surprisingly well, and the finale, Amelia Marneau's raspberry-mascarpone soufflé tart. The meat course included a ribeye that was so rare it almost walked off the plate, but I realize that that's the optimum way of maintaining the quality.

The whole evening was a foodie's dream come true... It's just a shame it comes around only once a year.


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