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Marche Moderne - Costa Mesa

Going for the 1st time tonight. Any tips or recs for dishes/wine/dessert?
Note: I've read the LA Times review already

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  1. So,how was your dinner? I had lunch at MM twice, and the food was good but the service was not . For the prices they charge,they should polish their service.

    5 Replies
    1. re: mrsjoujou

      Dinner was great. We'll definitely go back. I had the lamb shank, which was overall very tender and tasty, but had a few dry spots. The lamb was served in a pot w/ some type of bean which I can't remember, and olives and grape tomatoes. The olives kept their own flavor, while the tomato absorbed the broth and lamb flavor. My GF had the halibut cheeks, which were placed on top of large tomato slices, and garnished w/ mild chorizo slices and a basil emulsion. The halibut cheeks had a surprising crunchy texture and a sweet flavor. I think her halibut was a little better than my lamb. The service was good but not great. Our waitress just seemed a little awkward. She was very nice, but just wasn't too comfortable being there yet. The bussers and food runners were very attentive and made up for it by making sure to refill our wine glasses or get whatever else was needed. Unfortunately, we were too full to eat dessert.

      1. re: I got nothin

        Would you mind telling us what the tab was? I'm thinking of this as a family destination, as it's both French and situated geographically between our two locations. The Times review was certainly encouraging.

        1. re: Will Owen

          For our meal, 2 entrees and 2 glasses of wine = $67 (before tax and tip). Obviously it's going to be a little more expensive if you order appetizers (around $10 range for most), wine by the bottle (varied from $30 to $100+) and dessert (also around $10 each). The main dishes ranged from about $20 to $50; most were in the $20-$30 range.

        2. re: I got nothin

          Would you mind telling us what the tab was? As this place is both French and situated right between our family's two principal locations, it seems to be a perfect rendezvous spot. The Times review got me pretty excited, and yours is encouraging as well.

          1. re: I got nothin

            Went last night, had couscous for 2 and salade composee. Also some duck terrine. The couscous would have been more than enough for the 3 of at our table, it was that big. Lamb shank was great in it, also baby courgettes and chickpeas. The sea bass another at our table was a beautiful dish, pan roasting was exact and the chanterelles had some bite still. I don't think anything was undersalted as reported in other posts. Loved the terrine served on a plank with mustard cream, pickled vegetables. Nice stuff, bill for couscous, fish entree, 3 salads, terrine, coffee and bottle of wine before tip 230$. We'll be back to try the scallop tagine, which everyone seemed to be ordering at other tables.

        3. I think dinner is the way to go. Be sure & request a patio 'cabana' if 4 or less of you. Very nice seating there. We had lunch yesterday & were rather underwhelmed - especially by the service!

          3 Glasses of Mersault
          1 Sauternes
          1 Cold pineapple foie gras - wishI'd tried the seared with rhubarb. After the glowing review, was somewhat underwhelmed - perhaps I was expecting too much.
          1 3 Cheese plate - teeny teensy pices of cheese (had dinner at Cafe Stella last night & pieces were 4 times the size of MM's. Did like the honeycomb, candied walnuts & grape 'jelly.'
          Lettuce, Asian pear, gorgonzola & walnuts salad was very good
          Seared scallops very good
          Came to $126 + tip

          Waited & waited & waited for water. Waited & waited & waited to have our wine brought from the bar where we'd been waiting. Service friendly, but not up to snuff. Again, I may have been expecting too much after the review, but...

          Also advised it was mom's (major) birthday - no acknowledgement or dessert.

          3 Replies
          1. re: torta basilica

            I was surprised to see the three star rating,considering they gave Sapphire two star. I think Sapphire is a much better deal and last time we ate there, the service was better. I was going to order the scallops tagine for my lunch entree at MM and the waitress told me it was only two to three scallops at $18. She was so clumsy and made our experience not a pleasant one.

            1. re: mrsjoujou

              I agree... and it was only 2 scallops - Sapphire anyday! Was she older & not very friendly? We didn't have her, but noticed a rather humorless person dealing with guests - didn't see her smile once. At least our guy smiled... when we saw him :)

              1. re: torta basilica

                She was a young redhead. My friend had the pre fixe and she forgot about her dessert and other crazy stuff!

          2. I went yesterday for lunch with 6 other friends, sat in the Patio.
            We ordered Family Style. Menu: All 3 types of Tarts, Scallops Tagine, Foie Gras Cold with Pineapple, Uni in Martini Glass, Sweet Breads (only dish that wasn't quite up to snuff), Pork Belly, Short Rib, Cheese Platters (all cheeses). We brought our own wine and served it ourselves to avoid any delay or over pours. (7 bts = $70- corkage). Total including 22 percent tip per person 75- ea

            1. What a wonderful restaurant! From reading the L.A. Times review, it looks like the chef/proprietor handpicked some of the waitstaff. I'm usually pretty forgiving of waitstaff when the restaurant is fairly new (this one has only been around since late April/early May, I believe). Also, if anyone remembers the predecessor Troque, in my opinion the service at Marche is a dream compared to the foul experiences I had at Troque. It's a bit of an expensive meal, but no regrets. Lunch for 2 (two glasses of wine, soup, one prix fixe lunch, one fish-of-the-day entree, cheese plate) ran us $90 before tip.

              2 Replies
              1. re: OCKevin

                I'm surprised there are not more comments here. I went with my culinary group (very demanding women!!!) last night for the first time. It was wonderful. The restaurant is quite beautiful, although the seating felt the tiniest bit cramped. The service was good, but not extraordinary. But the food and adult beverages were beyond compare. I had a Grey Goose Gimlet that was the best gimlet. A very nice selection of wine by the glass. Appetisers, dinner and dessert was just over $80 a person. The proscutto tart was great, the chef's taste was a delightful yellow tail tartare I had the best clam dish I've ever eaten in my life, a little spicy from the spanish chorizo but beyond compare. The lobster and pork belly that the other diners had was amazing. Dessert was a caramel and banana confection with pastry wonderful caramel. Well worth the price. Delightful experience.

                1. re: IrishEyes

                  There are a variety of other threads discussing the relative virtues of MM. For my part, I've been to dinner there twice. Each time, most of items were great, but the service was mediocre. I've had the "Like a cuq au vin" with the braised ribs (the ribs were great but the gnocchi they were served with were disappointing) and the goose leg confit (fantastic). I've found the appetizers to be wonderful, and the desserts underwhelming. Its still an intriguing rest. that I can't wait to go back to.

              2. Since this thread got revived , I'll comment that based on my lunch visit to Marche Moderne, I don't think I'll bother going back.

                We opted for 2 fixed price lunch, and the slider for my son. Suffice to say that most items were cooked with a very heavy hand. The veal cheek was heavy, greasy, and the sauce way too sweet. The sliders were just a regular grease bomb and it doesn't help to be topped with tons of caramelized onions and brillant-savarin cheese. Only the fish was edible. The first course of salad with fingerling potatoes were OK, but it's just really mache w/ potatoes in a mayo coating. The espresso cake didn't really taste like coffee. I had better from a bakery.

                Nice to get away from the mall shopping environment, but even with the fix priced menu the food was really not worth the price. Kind of reminds me of the Pinot chains.

                2 Replies
                1. re: notmartha

                  I'm shocked about the glasses. I usually see a woman near the bar personally polishing the wine glasses with a cloth, so I never imagined they would have an issue with residue. I've had the prix fixe lunch three times. I've had the skate wing, duck, and veal cheeks. All perfectly cooked, and duck was exquisite on top of Israeli couscous (?). The prix fixe price of $20 is unbeatable value. Even more shocking because I feel this is among the best french bistros in southern california.

                  1. re: Jason_Coulston

                    My wife and I went back for our 3rd visit to MM in late Feb., early March. In very general terms,we thought the dinner menu and the desserts were much improved. In our prior two visits there was always something -- usually not major -- that just didnt work, even though everything else was great. This time, the food was markedly improved and uniformly excellent. I still have gripes about the service and MM's insistence on placing a second row of tables near the kitchen. We have sat there twice, and always been jostled by customers, wait staff or shopping bags. I'd rather pay a bit more there and have a little more room....

                2. Going again tonight. Haven't been in a few months. No online menu, so I was just wondering if anyone had been recently, and if so, what's new?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: I got nothin

                    My wife and I and some foodie friends went back to MM on Sat. night. When I first went to MM, I had mixed feelings but over the course of many visits became quite a fan. The experience was markedly better every time we went, until Sat. The evening was wonderful due to the great ambience of sitting on the patio on a warm summer night and great company. The food was inconsistnet. 3/4 of us loved our meals. Unfortunately, I was the 4th. I had several problems. First, the menu offerings were fairly stale and bland - there was nothing all that new or different from past visits, and quite frankly, no entree that I was excited to try. Second, the sauteed foie gras was mediocre, and paired with a tart yellow goop that not only did not complement the foie but was simply awful. The foie itself was not particularly flavorful and was overcooked. As for my entree, I ordered the coq au vin with the duck leg and tagliatelle pasta. My mistake. The pasta was bland and inferior to the "fresh" pasta from a grocery store, and the duck wasn't flavorful at all. My companions loved their entrees -- two of them had sea trout and the third had braised pork cheeks. One additional caveat -- neither the chef nor pastry chef appeared to be on the premises that night which may go a long way to explain the inconsistencies. If this had been my first or second experience at MM, it would have also been my last. I'll go back, but not with the same excitement that I had previously felt for it.