Eat This Now: Confit & Carmelized Pork Belly at Marché Moderne

No doubt, pork belly and Brussels sprouts will be on many critic's lists of “Tired Old Restaurant Trends 2014.” It's understandable. Little did we know during the bacon craze of 2011 that we'd need bigger, thicker pieces of pork to satisfy our cravings. Nor did we realize when we discovered our love for sprouts that we'd eventually move on to shishito peppers out of sheer Brussels boredom.

Sometimes it takes seemingly passé flavors to remind us that “classic” combinations are classic for a reason–like with the simple, albeit perfectly executed Confit & Carmelized Pork Belly at Marché Moderne in South Coast Plaza, which comes off like the fanciest ham dinner this side of a Newport country club.


Served on a layer of broiled pineapple strips, the glossy, mahogany hunk of belly is firm enough to stand up to a fork, though it shreds easily under the ornate serrated knife they give you to slice it up. The sprouts are pulled apart; each individual leaf touched with enough char and salt to provide an addictive, crispy complement to the fatty meat. A pineapple compote tops the slab and a drizzle of Blis maple syrup around the plate creates a sugary sauce to swoop each bite through.

We've always been partial to Marché for their three-course $25 lunch menuwhich remains one of the best deals in town, but our latest, porky discovery is yet another reminder to push past the prix-fixe from time to time.

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