MRKT has been open for over two years now and somehow I still hadn’t tried their food. (Not to be confused with the newer MKT on Whyte Ave, confusing I know). Having heard great things about their soups and sandwiches, I figured if they expanded to a dinner menu, it must be a crowd pleaser at the very least.
With original plans to go to the new restaurant, XIX Nineteen, the roads were not on my side. This was an opportune moment, anything in the downtown area was up for eats. MRKT it was! I quickly reserved online via Open Table for an early seating of 5:45pm. Sitting in traffic for 40 minutes to get to downtown to meet Joe made me hungry!
It’s a bit of an odd location, you need to walk up the stairs to get to the entrance. Inside though, the decor is fantastic. Love the curved wooden paneled walls. Phat Noodle down the street has the same interior, perhaps same designer? Either way, looked fantastic, very retro. Even the light fixtures were noteworthy although the rest of the space is dimly lit. We were the first to arrive for dinner service but a few tables trickled in shortly after.
The menu was simple enough with a few items in each category. Drinks were on the same page and a wine list on the back.
The “Soul Soup” looked interesting and they had a few choices that day, each featuring different parts of the globe. I don’t even remember what the other choices were because the words “bacon seafood chowder” just spoke for itself. What came out did not look like chowder at all to me, thinking the definition of chowder was a thickened soup with cream or milk. Not so. Just has to be thickened, apparently. How the soup tasted made up for my first reaction though, it was delicious! A bit of a kick at the end of each spoonful and served hot! Makes sense if their lunch crowd is a fan of their soups and sandwiches.
Our small plate to share was the Cortes Island smoked oysters with edam cheese, smoked tuna and crostini. I don’t think I’ve ever had edam before and it’s now going to be one of my favorite cheeses! Next to brie, of course. The smoked oysters and tuna had interesting flavors and everything went well together. Was pleasantly surprised at how nice the dish was. Even Joe, who doesn’t particularly like hard crostini, was enjoying it.
My main course was the steamed P.E.I mussels in a white wine and tomato garlic broth, served with fresh baguette. Presentation was A+, the baguette slices towering over a massive plateful of mussels. Even the table in front of us paused in conversation to stare. Although the mussels were a little bit bigger than I would have liked (I enjoy smaller, younger mussels), the broth was delicious! I managed to eat the entire dish (probably a first in a long while), even though Joe did take one slice of bread. I think it was the same bread they used for the crostini and very fresh. I wonder if they make their breads in-house?
Joe ordered the penne with braised Pembina pork shoulder, tomato, spinach, Alberta goat cheese, and chimichurri. The pork was already shredded and mixed together with the penne, something a bit unexpected. The dish overall was mediocre and didn’t speak to me. Joe seemed to enjoy it and finished his plate within minutes.
For dessert, there was crème brûlée – my weakness. The flavor profile changes weekly though and this week it was a peanut butter creme brulee. With Joe being (mildly) allergic to peanuts, this was a no-go for us. Not that I particularly enjoy peanut butter that much either. Instead, I jumped at the “banana split” instead. Served with coconut ice cream, almonds, and a coffee rum sauce, the dessert was sub par. I didn’t get enough of the coffee rum sauce and Joe ate all the raspberries! Hmph. It wasn’t as sweet as I’d like it to be, and trust me, I don’t even like overly sweet desserts. And the fancy chocolate covered pastry, I swear, was Pocky. You know, the pre-packaged ones from Asian grocery stores! Odd. The coconut ice cream was refreshing, nevertheless, and our dinner ended on a good note.
My experience at MRKT wasn’t exactly stellar although their food was good. I think their stronger dishes are featured for lunch and I’ll have to make the effort to come downtown during that rush hour. I was a big fan of the bread that was served with every dish I had and if that’s the bread they use for their sandwiches, then I’m a happy camper! Will definitely come back to try more soups.MRKT
10542 Jasper Ave
(780) 757-6758Twitter: @MRKTCafeteria