Hmmm….well what to say. Maybe it is just the same old story that you hear the hype and then you go to the place and somehow it is disappointing. Don’t get me wrong – the space was nice, the service was good and the food was tasty…I guess it just didn’t blow me away which is what I was sort of expecting. We tried the appetizers – bacon wrapped shrimp with passion mustard avocado, and seared scallops with caramelized cauliflower and caper raisin emulsion. For the mains, we chose the sable fish with lemon sauce and the soy-glazed short ribs with apple-jalapeno puree and rosemary crumbs and a side of assorted spring peas with smoked butter. The side of peas was quite uninteresting and my fellow diner commented that she could do something better at home. Aside from that, everything was good and cooked well but nothing was fantastic. That being said, the portions were a good size – I got two hunks of sablefish and 5 shrimp as appetizer and the price is reasonable. The best and most interesting dish was the dessert – a pineapple carpaccio with blackberries and crystallized coriander with lemon sorbet and blackberries. It was a refreshing dish of exquisitely thin slices of pineapple on some sort of green puree (coriander?) which was nicely accompanied by the lemon sorbet and crystallized coriander.
The restaurant space is quite nice although the tables can be reasonably close together. There is a smaller area off to the side which seemed to offer more space and privacy if you are looking for something more romanti. On the casual side, there is a bar/lounge out front. On a nice day, it would be great to snag one of the tables on the patio overlooking Alberni Street.
Overall, I think the lunch menu might be a good deal at $28 for 2 dishes although other reviews have said the service can be slow. As for dinner, well…maybe next time I might try the $68 tasting menu. I do have to try it again with no expectations because in reality, it is not too expensive given the portions size and the food is decent. Not resounding praise I know, but maybe it’s like when you hear great things about a movie and then you see it and…well…it just isn’t that good.
So we went back to Market but this time as a small group and we had a whole private room to ourselves. If you want to order the tasting menu, everyone at the table has to have it so we did. They will make substitutions in the tasting menu if there are allergies or food restrictions. The service was great. The room temperature a bit variable. Some of us were cold – apparently the air con was on our side , while the others were more comfortable. The non-alcoholic spritzer type drinks are refreshing and worth a try. The alcoholic cocktails were also saitsfying and there are many wines by the glass. Best dishes included the rice cracker crusted tuna with citrus-sriracha (I love this hot sauce) emulsion, perfectly grilled foie gras brule with meyer-lemon-pineapple jam and rose seasoning. Is it worth the price – well I guess compared to other restaurants at this level the $68 6-course tasting menu is reasonably priced and the restaurant is hip at the moment – so why not splurge for an occasion.
Market by Jean-Georges Restaurant
1115 Alberni St
Vancouver, BC V6E
Cost: Approx $140 for 2 appetizers, 2 mains, 1 dessert and 2 glasses of wine.