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Apr 24, 2010 07:11 AM

Marche in Sherman Oaks

There are certain chefs who seem to just get the way we want to eat. Travis Lett at Gjelina, Warren Schwartz at Westside Tavern, Susanne Goin and Andre Guerrero at any of their restaurants all come to mind; and Gary Menes at Marche. Coming back from a late afternoon appointment in Woodland Hills, I decided to forego the trip over the hill to WLA and stopped in on the latest evolution of what once was Max and Max Bistro. The small room has been opened up with the once isolated front patio not part of the proceedings as well as the inclusion of what was a semi private booth and small bar area. Dark woods and amber tones create a warm effect and classic Miles Davis nicely entertains in the background. A friend had warned that the small plate format seemed pricey but for $29 (the price of an entree in most quality houses), I started with an addicting "pig candy" (caramelized maple, brown sugar and bacon) for $4, went on to a nicely composed and satisfying Heirloom tomato and arugula salad for $10 and an absolutely wonderful melt in your mouth pork belly with parsnip puree for $15. A wonderful homemade sourdough dinner roll and sliced Ciabatta like bread complemented the proceedings. And if the image of Jamie Oliver in the back of my mind shouting, "Stop already!" wasn't enough, I finished with an $8 warm chocolate souffle cake with a salted caramel center and vanilla ice cream removing any chance that I might stop at the new Menchie's yogurt shop clogging up the corner traffic. Service from the greeting at the door to the delivery of the bread was about as good as I've found anywhere - professional, caring, on the mark.

13355 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks 91423

1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291, USA

Westside Tavern
10850 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

6731 Fallbrook Ave, West Hills, CA 91307

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    1. Marche closing is a huge loss to the dining scene in the Valley. In fact, it was one of my favorite restaurants in the entire city.

      Gary Menes is a true talent and I wish him luck wherever he lands.

      9 Replies
      1. re: bodie

        I agree, sad news & indeed a tremendous loss for Sherman Oaks; it was the only restaurant of its type in the area. For that reason, I'm surprised that it didn't do better.

        1. re: archer

          Maybe it didn't do better because it was the only restaurant of its type in the area, and it was seen as the new weird kid. We're so used to looking for the new and different we forget that most people do the exact opposite, especially when it comes to food. The far reaches of the SFV is no place to try to sell culinary innovation, unless it's either really cheap or cleverly disguised as something familiar.

          1. re: Will Owen

            "The far reaches of the SFV..."? C'mon! Ventura blvd. between Coldwater Canyon and Beverly Glen may not be the heart of hipsterville but it's certainly not Arleta!!! ;)

            1. re: FranklinJefferson

              It may as well be Arleta to those many, many Angelenos who don't dare venture over the hill.

              1. re: BearCity

                Look, I've spent a fair amount of time out that way, and have had plenty of occasion to look for and find some lunch. If I were always looking for something new and exciting I'd be SOL; luckily, mainstream and/or nostalgic suits me just fine if it's reasonably well done, and that's what I've always found there.

                1. re: BearCity

                  BearCity, If your reply is meant to add to why Marche failed, you don't appear to be familiar w/ the population of the San Fernando Valley or the number of restaurants on Ventura Blvd.

                  I'll suggest 1 example why Marche couldn't make it - $12 for small "plats" of vegetables (even if locally sourced organic premium veggies). Well prepared and good but not That good. You're talkin' around $60/pp-food only, 4 small plats+ pp to get your fill. Overall the value wasn't there. $60pp and even much more can be well worth it at some restaurants but I didn't think so of Marche. The Lazy Ox is better at quality ingredients small plates and has a bunch of dishes under $10.

                    1. re: ilikefood

                      I found several choices for $10 or less & was quite satisfied sharing 5-6 plates (mixing the smaller & larger ones) with my husband which depending on our choices & appetite came to $60--$75 for two (food only), an excellent value for the quality of food, particularly given that there's nothing else like Marche in the area. Clearly it was too unique for the valley, which is too bad--I'd hate to think that Sherman Oaks is doomed to remain so far behind Culver City in terms of innovative restaurant offerings

                      1. re: archer

                        So sad to hear it's closing. It was too high-end for it's location. That was actually my first thought the first time I dined there, and I said aloud to my friend that I hoped the valley would support it. Apparently not. Sad.