Jonathan Gold kicks off the new year with a review of the newly relocated Marché Moderne down in Newport Beach. The restaurant was originally known as the best place to refuel with champagne and oysters after an arduous day of shopping, being that it was located within the swanky South Coast Plaza mall.
The French eatery reopened its doors ofter a brief hiatus in the Crystal Cove area of Newport Beach last September. No longer accessible only after navigating several escalators, the new location is a “grand modern restaurant,” with a clientele that matches its ritzy surrounds.
Despite the fact that former iteration of the restaurant was a constant addition to the critic’s 101 list, not every dish is a hit:
A hash of grilled scallops, tiny fried potatoes and quail eggs? Of course. Tuna tartare with yuzu and avocado sorbet, or ravioli stuffed with a gamy mass of foie gras? You’ll find better. The mussels, both times I’ve had them, have been slightly tired. The risotto is the French kind, swamped with butter, richer than you can imagine — I liked a small, delicate version with crab that was a special one evening, but the risotto with uni and langoustine can be overwhelming. [LAT]
However, the real hits are the hangar steak and coq au vin that at the original mall location felt as if it “existed as a personal favor to you rather than as one of the most popular things on the menu”:
But the grilled USDA prime hanger steak is wonderful, crusted and crisp but a perfect, drippy pink inside, served with a bowl of skinny, perfectly crisp French fries. There is a kind of schnitzel of pounded pork with tiny roast Brussels sprouts and a sticky sauce flavored with appley Calvados. And that copper pan of coq au vin, wine reduced with mushrooms, tiny onions and chunks of bacon to near-blackness, is as splendid as it ever was in the mall. [LAT]
In the end, the Goldster seems to endorse the relocated restaurant as a bougie place to indulge in a classic French meal.