Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Restaurant Review: Market in Stamford

I wish I could write about food in a calm, self-possessed way like New York Times reviewer Patricia Brooks, but gosh darnit if I can’t help but mention cartwheels and crotch-shots.

I can’t outdo my nemesis in food knowledge, so I’ll just tell you the food is some of the best you can get in Stamford. I’ll also tell you that the strawberry basil margarita is fantastico, and not short on tequila.

Market’s food is fun, almost as fun as Duo’s. For example, I got the veal ravioli… with pistachio cream sauce. Aaahhhhhhhhhh! (That was a scream of happiness.) Six ravioli filled me up and the last two made for a satisfying breakfast. Brooks' review describes it as: “stuffed with veal breast confit, garlicky spinach and herbed ricotta… topped with a sprinkle of pistachio burro fusso (bonded butter and nuts).” Whatever, Patricia; stop showing off, OK?

Our dining companions, the Z’s, rated the meal as one of the best they’ve had since moving here a year ago. Mr. Z reports that Mrs. Z “thoroughly enjoyed her Duck and Fried Rice Risotto and said that the leftovers were great even when eaten cold for lunch” and that the “Tagliatelle Bolognese, featuring their homemade pasta, was melt-in-your-mouth good.” My husband got the rib-eye, which I think was the most expensive meal on the menu at 42 bucks. The one bite he begrudgingly allowed me didn’t wow me.

For appetizers, the School of Tuna (tuna 4 ways- spicy, sweet, etc) is very Duo-ish, but not as good as Duo’s tuna pizza appetizer. Mr. Z. rated it as “only okay.” Mrs. Z. liked the meatballs, and my fish and chips had sweet batter and delicious scallops.

As far as dessert, Mr. and Mrs. Z liked the donuts with ricotta, but my chocolate warm cake in its own tiny skillet was mediocre and not melty enough. Tragic, tragic. Go to Duo or Napa and Co. for your chocolate dessert.

The food is expensive- appetizers 14-ish, entrees 23-ish and above. I’d say the pasta and duck fried rice is the best bang for your buck. I’ll again quote the sensible Mr. Z.: “Prices are high, but that's what I've come to accept in the FC, especially for a high-end place. That said, it was well worth the money. I'd happily go back again.”

Now, the crowd at Market. When I went on a Thursday evening in January, the place had a party of 75 (!) in the main room, so my friend and I squeezed in at the bar between attractive, clean-cut men and a young couple. When I was there last Wednesday, a corporation had taken over almost the entire restaurant. They were a little raucous, snapping pictures under the table like high-schoolers, but a thick curtain closed off their antics (good idea, Market). In the words of Mr. Z., “Service seemed good and friendly once the lecherous private party in the back was sated.” Market’s staff was attentive and adept both times I was there despite the restaurant being totally full.

Sources say that the craziest thing that has happened at Market is people doing cartwheels by the bar at closing time. (No small feat, because that’s not a big area.) Yes, Market's crowd has itself pretty much under control while still having a good time.


Anonymous said...

sounds both yummy and entertaining. Great review. Will have to check it out.

Anonymous said...

You know, you might be the only person who's ever called me sensible. :-)

You summed up the evening quite nicely. A good time was had by all, even those of us without digital cameras under the table.

-Mr. Z

Stamford Talk said...

Well- sensible compared to me.

Unknown said...

jfoods actually mentioned Nappa on the site that shall not be named on 3-26-08 at 1 PM and it was still up at 3 PM!
the post:

Oh Boy another Chower hits the 'hood. Welcome, welcome. Unfortunately Darien is not the best for food, sorta like the hole in the middle of the donut. People love Coromandel, but I am not a Indian food lover (long story there do not ask) so no opinion and Little Thai on my list to try but not there yet. Ching's Kitchen received a Good from Patricia Brooks of the Times so it must be pretty bad. But enough with the unhelpful start.

Rowayton - One of the best seafood resto is in Rowayton, Rowayton Seafood. Some think it is part of Darien but its really Norwalk. Real tough to get a reso in the summer but better this time of year.
Stamford - Best by far is new place called Napa and Co. Could be the best in FFD county. Menu changes a lot but the found never gets below perfect. Places open all the time on lower Atlantic Ave. For fish there is Ocean 211, which is fairly consistent, for Italian, I like Mona Lisa around the corner, but its a little old fashioned.
Greenwich - My favorite is Rebecca's, off the Merrit, not 95. Top five in Jfood-land. Another is the Oyster Bar betweeen Lillian August and Aux Delice (Ponzak's place). No resos allowed here tho. Valbella on Post Road in G'wich gets good reviews by many on this board, I won't walk into the place. Never had a good meal. Gor fun there is Baang, next to McD's on Post rd in G'wich near the STM border.
New Canaan - Sole has a new chef and not crazy about the product since Luis left. He started a new place down the street and needs to work out the kinks before I give him a decent review, not impressed so far. Ching's Table is the best Asian in the area but the staff treats you like fried dumplings. Aloi is better in the summer when the doors are open and you can sit outside. Best veal bolognese you will ever eat.Chef trained by Luongo Savvy gets good reviews but crap in my book. I may give it another try but i am sceptical As soon as they rebuild (hopefully by summer) Cherry Street has the best burger around.
SoNo - My faves are Ocean Dr and Barcelona. OD is better in the summer when they get better fish and do a better job with it, plus the whole front of the resto is a big garage door that they open ot the street. The miso glazed Cod is to die for. Over the bridge towards Westport is Harbor Lights. Sitting on the deck with some pretty good food is worth the trip. Barcelona (also one in G'wich) is a high energy good food place, most close to a NY atmosphere. Also in SONO is the best bakery around, SONO Bake Shop. Bring your tread mill with you because you will buy and eat everything.

That's sorta my radius for dinner foods.

Hope this helps.

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jfood Mar 22, 2007 01:13PM

Anonymous said...

He posted that a year ago, apparently before the insane ban was enacted.

Amanda said...

I didn't enjoy Market as much as you all did. I found there to be far too much going on in their entrees. Apps were good. But I am definitely not rushing back. It IS pricey.

Manager Mom said...

I also didn't care for Market. I found the service to be indifferent at best and the portions small, pricey, and mediocre. I had been really excited to try a cauliflower gnocchi dish and was told he couldn't make the gnocchi, so they would make me a special dish that was similar... and the special dish basically turned out to be mac-n-cheese with a few stray sprigs of cauliflower.

When the server asked me if I liked my special dish I told him that quite honestly, I was disappointed and that I wish I'd ordered one of the other entrees instead. he said, "oh, that's too bad." didn't offer anything to make up for my disappointment. I wasn't necessarily expecting a comped meal but c'mon, people, a free drink or dessert or SOMETHING!!!

If I ever go back there, it's on someone else's dime.

Anonymous said...

When I saw Market's prices I laughed. No many places in FFC "get it". Far too many think a good restaurant charges $x and never consider the quality of food.

The Market won't get me to eat there because 85% of restaurants in FFC charge far more than their mediocre quality of food deserves. Give me a break.

I seriously question people's tastes that sit there an nod in agreement over such mediocre food and sky high prices. They must feel guilty or worse duped, for paying such high prices so they say, yea, it was worth it!


Anonymous said...

i also found market to be very unsatisfying. very small portions, food sounds interesting but then fails to deliver. service is horrible. this place will end up being a cool bar with food

Stamford Talk said...

What did you get?
I found the food portions just right because the food is pretty heavy. Although, without an appetizer, maybe the entree would be too small, especially for a guy. That would make the meal pricey.
I don't know if it would be a great bar scene because that area is pretty small and the dining area is huge. But sometimes small is good!

Anonymous said...

we had gone on two occasions, lunch once then dinner. we had the school of tuna (dumb dish) three very basic and boring pairings, i didn't learn anything :(
we also had the pea soup, why in the world would they serve it cold, maybe in july or august, but it's still 45 degrees outside. and the entrees weren't any better. rib eye(good piece of meat) and chicken. bad burger on english muffin. i just think they may want to spend a little more time finishing the dishes, balance flavors. and it then may be ok. i will try again.