Market by Jean-George
The expectation of the public is that when a restaurant carries a famous chef’s name the menu should be interesting, the food above average and the service better than a diner. I think that Jean-George needs to make an appearance in Vancouver at the Market Restaurant in the Shangri-La and take a look at their quality control.
This past week I have been in Vancouver helping my sister move our Mom into an independentliving condo at UBC. After a week of getting rid of 90 yrs of treasures and junk, I wanted to treat Ruth to an evening out. We were interested in a tasting menuwhich is the best way to see what a restaurant is all about. I have 2 of Jean-George’s cook books and have a great respect for this icon of the culinary industry. Why would he want to tarnish his reputation with and average restaurant? It appears that the restaurant is confused about how they be perceived by the public. The ambiance of Market is generic with a mix of tables and chairs that are crowded together and noisy as well as cold if you happen to be sitting any distance from the fireplace. Our table appeared to be 6 seater turned sideways against a bank of windows and set for 4 making this configuration awkward for table conversation.
The restaurant website showed an interesting tasting menu but we soon discovered that Dine out Vancouver was on and the tasting menu had been suspended. After a conversation with our server , the chef agreed to serve the menu with one substitution if all three of us had the same. We were thrilled and awaited a promising enchanted evening. The first annoying thing was the table and it’s placement. I can overlook these details if the food is good. We decided also to have the sommelier choose a flight of wines to compliment the menu. Normally when a patron orders the most expensive menu, the chef sends out an amuse bouche, no such luck. The first course, MARKET Sashimi, Crispy Rice, Chipotle Emulsion and Scallion was served with a very tasteless saki. The saving grace of this dish was the interesting texture of the crispy warm rice against the steelhead belly. The restaurant didn’t have the foie gras for the second course so the chef substituted a seared scallop topped with grilled cauliflower and accompanied with a caper and raisin sauce. The sauce was overwhelmed by an over abundance of dijon mustard which masked to sweetness of the raisin.
Third course was a second substitute. Instead of a butternut squash soup we received a very tasty tomato soup with cumin oil. The flavours were good but the soup was more like a thick sauce. The one dish I have no negative comments for was the slow roasted steelhead served with delicately truffle infused mashed potatoes. The main meat course of a double grilled lamb chop was a huge disappointment. The presentation looked like it was thrown together and the lamb was medium well done. The day before I had read in a local magazine that the desert of Chocolate molten cake was supposed to be one of the best in Vancouver. I got half way through the overcooked cake before I finally asked for the check in disappointment. The wines that were paired were nondescript and really don’t warrant mention. If it weren’t for the company, the evening would have been a bust.
To address the service, a bit snobby by some of the wait staff and we felt rushed through the dinner. It appeared they wanted all the guests gone by 10pm.
As an aside, we had dinner at Tapestry where our mom moved where the braised short ribs were outstanding. Jean-George watch out!!!!!
Market by Jean-George
Friday, February 3, 2012