Marie Fong: Review the marc next please! I haven’t been there yet – October 4 at 9:35pm, Facebook
If anybody ever suggests a restaurant to me to go try, I’ll gladly do it. Suggest a restaurant that I’ve been to before and shamefully forgot, I’ll most certainly do it again. Last time I was at The Marc was for a set menu for Downtown Dining Week. It was only back in March but seemed like ages ago. Good thing I still took photos of food back then, you can see what I had here, posted on Instagram. I thought it was well done, the scallops being my favorite part of the meal. The pork belly was mediocre from what I could remember but the mushrooms and sauce were delicious! Our dessert was presented beautifully, although the macaron was a bit dry. I believe this was one of the last days of the promotion though so perhaps our macaron wasn’t as fresh as it could be. Either way, I remembered having a great time there with excellent service. It was due time that I made a second visit!
Reserving only a day before, I managed to grab reservations at 8pm which worked out well because Joe and I were seeing Argo that night at 9:50pm. Old school date night! If you’re planning to try The Marc on a Friday night, I highly recommend reserving maybe a couple of days beforehand. With the Open Table online reservation system, it’s a breeze. Under additional requests, I mostly thought about how poorly photos come out without nice lighting (I’m against the use of flash for food and my poor iPhone can only do so much) and put down a note to have a table with good lighting if possible. The restaurant felt very cozy, a good vibe from the guests. The host shook our hands as if we’re all long time friends which felt very welcoming. We were seated at a table closer to the front and had excellent lighting! I should really request that more often.
Our server was very knowledgeable about the menu and ran through the specials for the evening, written on a blackboard in the center of the dining room. One of the main reasons why I wanted to come back to The Marc was to try their steak tartare. Having heard great things about it, I was really wrestling with the idea of a fantastic steak tartare, or risk an E. Coli episode. Being in the health care profession, I’m more aware of outbreaks and its consequences than where restaurants source their meats. It didn’t hurt to ask and I’m glad our server was adamant about the quality of the beef and their local sourcing, even going to state that “Patrick and Doris would die before they served anything like that.” I happily ordered the steak tartare.
Our meal started off with warm bread and butter. The steak tartare came shortly, served with grilled crostinis and house-made pickles. I’ll be honest, this is my second time trying steak tartare. My first experience was horrible and made me shy away from ordering the dish at any restaurant. I’m so glad I tried it here. It was absolutely delicious! You get use to the texture quickly and soon just notice the bright flavors! I was worried there wouldn’t be enough crostinis but Joe finished the last bit of steak tartare, leaving me alone with my piece of bread.
While Joe sneaked into last bites of my steak tartare, I was preoccupied with his scallop appetizer. Seared scallops with bacon, fava beans, cello radish, celeriac purée and a maple-cider aigre-doux (sweet and sour mixture). Perfectly cooked and picture perfect with brightly green fava beans! Loved it!
My entree for the night was seared duck breast with Puy lentils, and a Grand Marnier reduction served over glazed carrots and fennel with pernod. I absolutely love duck and will almost always order it if it’s on the menu. The dish came with a large portion of duck breast, cooked medium-rare, skin on. I enjoyed the lentils and the side of glazed carrots and fennel did a good job of sweetening the dish. I also ordered a side of brown butter root vegetable mash to try. Great way to add substance to a dish (although mine didn’t need it at all), and gave a hearty comfort-food kick without adding any potatoes.
Joe gravitated towards the special of the evening, a braised veal “osso bucco” style (bone marrow from the veal shank included), with orzo pasta, vegetable ragu, and Parmesan cheese. Our server had described it as “soupy, but in a good way” and the word “soup” is probably what caught his attention. The veal was tender, no-knife required! I was a fan of the orzo-vegetable-ragu mixture and you could taste the creamy Parmesan in the sauce. Joe preferred the texture of orzo rather than risotto, another way the dish could have been served over at other restaurants. I’ve never tried bone marrow before although my mother uses it in her pho broth. It tasted mostly of fat, which I mixed in with a bite of the orzo.
I had my duck packed up for a second meal because the dessert menu on the board caught my eye. Creme caramel and beignets stood out to me (crème caramel/crème brûlée being my favorite dessert of all time, and beignets because every table had an order). I really had to poke and prod Joe to see if he could share two desserts with me. Our server had faith that we could do it, so we ordered both. The crème caramel had a good texture and a strong vanilla flavor. Delicious but nothing extraordinary. We both polished that off before diving into the beignets.
The beignets deserve a separate paragraph on its own. With 6 – 7 bites on a plate, I thought it was a ridiculous proportion. Our server had said they were very light though, and was convinced that we could finish it before heading out to watch Argo. We most certainly finished. It was amazing. Light, airy and coated in sugar, it came with two dipping sauces: caramel and crème anglais. My favorite was the crème anglais! Just writing about it is making me hungry. I forgot to ask which one Joe preferred, The Marc’s or Wildflower Grill’s beignets. I know he enjoyed the gooey filled beignets before but I preferred The Marc’s lighter alternative. Dish of the night for me! Or maybe tied with the steak tartare…
Thanks to The Marc for a delicious meal. Will definitely return to try more dishes!The Marc
9940 – 106 St
(780) 429-2828 Twitter: @TheMarcKitchen