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Sep 18, 2007 12:15 PM

Pascal or Marche Moderne

Thanks for the suggestions for was awesome. now between Pascal and March Moderne...which would you guys recommend.

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  1. I made my second visit to Marche Moderne on Sat. The menu is generally more innovative and less static than Pascal's. The appetizers and entrees were excellent at both visits; the foie gras and the goose leg were particularly good and one dish unordered - the ocean trout with marrow bone -- has us yearning to go back soon. However, the desserts were less than overwhelming on both occasions - I'd recommend the cheese plate instead. Also, both times the service was lackluster. On Sat., after we were seated, the wait staff simply forgot about us until the manager came over. Also, the bottled water we ordered was kept away from our table and my wife's glass was not refilled for long periods. Pascal has a track record of excellence for almost 20 years. Marche is also the flavor the day, so it has just a little more cache than tried and true Pascal (and the people watching is better). I will go back to Marche to explore it a bit more before returning to Pascal.

    1. Have not been to Pascal but my husband and I enjoyed a wonderful long lunch on Marche Moderne's patio last month. The service was attentive and the food was well prepared. All was enjoyed with a bottle of rose. A perfect way to enjoy an afternoon in sunny california. Enjoy.

      1. Both are very good, except that when Pascal is not at the restaurant, the quality slips considerably.

        5 Replies
          1. re: torta basilica

            Had a four hour lunch at Marche Modern on Monday for the second time. I thought the food was very good, clean not over the top flavors and everything was cooked perfectly, I longed for a touch more salt but that could just be me. I have yet to go for dinner so can not comment on that but I would and will go back because it is nice to see a kitchen that is focused and not trying TOO hard.

          2. re: trahastings

            I too would agree - I have not eaten at the restaurant itself in quite some time so this is not completely fair, but when we did go (on several occasions), we felt that while everything was fine and competently executed, we weren't "feeling the love" - it wasn't a place we felt a great desire to re-visit any time soon. And we haven't. For an equivalent sum we can go to a great place like Napa Rose and feel really truly welcomed.

            Yesterday, I visited the adjacent Pascal Epicerie (basically a nice little French-style cafe/deli/wine shop). I love the high standards they obviously have for their prepared foods, the amazing cheeses they carry, the beautiful tarts and cakes and cookies they have on offer, and the great wines they sell (many great values here if you know and love French wines, BTW). But the attitude, it's a bit haughty I have to say. A lady in front of me in the line asked, nicely, to exchange the soup they'd given her through a bit of a mutual mix-up - the fellow behind the counter did as requested, but he gave her a bit of a "look" and didn't say a word. Now, that's not right. Again, I'm just not feeling the love...maybe it's me, but I'm kind of thinking hey guys, you're in a strip mall in Costa Mesa (you can call it Newport Beach, but really, it's Costa Mesa...)

            1. re: mikester

              No, really, that area is Newport Beach not Costa Mesa

              1. re: Philly

                Technically yes, but that's just gerrymandering :-)

          3. Marche Moderne feels "urban chic" and city-like to me. Maybe it's the fact that it's in a shopping center where Salvatore Ferragamo, Chanel and Tiffany & Co. are its neighbors. Pascal, on the other hand, reminds me of a country bistro off of a round-about in the outer limits of Aix-en-Provence. It's more friendly, particularly if Chef Pascal Olhats is roaming the tables and greeting the guests. MM's chef, Florent Marneau, doesn't often hob-nob with the patrons, and when he does, it's usually when he suspects you're a VIP. Also, in contrast to MM, Pascal is situated in an unassuming stripmall, within steps of a Togo's, tobacco shop and a Starbucks. (A little undeservingly, Pascal's stripmall location was ridiculed several years ago in a Los Angeles Times restaurant review). In terms of food, you really can't go wrong with either place. Both chefs are French, and both are slaves to their craft. I guess it comes down to whether you prefer Paris over Provence.

            1. I can't comment about Pascal's because I haven't eaten there . . . yet. However, I can say that Marche Moderne is amazing! OCKevin made a comment that Florent Marneau hob-nobs with the patrons when he suspects you're a VIP. I think that's an inaccurate comment. My SO and I had dinner this week at MM for the first time. Florent and his wife, Amelia, both came by to say hello and to thank us for joining them that evening. Neither of us are VIPs at that restaurant, but they treated us like we were. The food was amazingly prepared from the beet salad and Marche salad as appetizers to the pork belly and tai snapper with bone marrow and on to the desserts (caramel nut tart with banana gelato and coconut espume and the valhrona chocolate souffle with espresso ice cream). I can't recommend this place highly enough.

              2 Replies
              1. re: miam miam

                MM (same initials as Marche Moderne!), I'm pleased to hear how nice your experience was. Keep in mind, I wasn't criticizing the chef, but just making an observation consistent with my "Paris v.s. Provence" comparison. I've been to many restaurants where I've been told that the chef doesn't like to hob-nob ... and that's okay! It wouldn't surprise me if you or someone else like yourself was sitting in the restaurant at a table close to mine, and when I was thinking to myself, "Hey, how come he doesn't come here to talk to us? They must be VIP's or something!" But it's more than just that. I've been there when I felt strongly that certain patrons were given just a subtle but extra bit of unsolicited attention by more than just the waitstaff for reasons which I can't help but conclude have something to do with status. Still, I don't think it makes a difference in my opinion, especially since it's among my favorite places to eat in OC and can't wait to go back. Maybe next time, I ought to take more of the initiative and tell the waiter we really would like to say hello to the chef?

                1. re: OCKevin

                  My s/o and I make a POINT of asking to meet the chef or GM just to say "hi", introduce ourselves, and thank them for a lovely meal (when applicable, which is most of the time). It's a great way to make a connection, and they always appreciate the kudos. At MM, we got to meet the wife/pastry chef, and she was lovely. Even shared a few funny stories with us about the menu.