Friday, April 2, 2010


If I can bring myself to wake up and go out for brunch, this would be one of the places I would love heading. Of course, pricing is another factor.

MARKET by Jean-Georges

(1115 Alberni St)
Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver
1128 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, BC V6E 0A8
Telephone: 604.695.1115
Hours: Breakfast - 7-11.30am; Lunch - 11.30am-2.30pm; Dinner - 5.30-10.30pm 


Food: 5/10
Service: 9/10
Ambiance: 10/10
Pricing: $$$ (average $40 per head plus drinks for breakfast/lunch; average $100 per head for dinner)

Pros: Modern interior with a comfortable setting; Relaxed dining; Great service; Respectable serving size for the price
Cons: A few people don't know how to follow and respect the restaurant's business casual dress code and just arrive in a t-shirt

Overall Rating: 6/10

Notes: Reservations highly recommended

Market By Jean-Georges on Urbanspoon

MARKET by Jean-Georges and Shangri-La Hotel are a good fit similar to the other restaurants and shops I've been to in other Shanri-La Hotels.

There are two entrances for Market. One is the main entrance on Alberni street. The other is via the hotel entrance along West Georgia street. If you can't take the stairs, they do have an elevator a few steps away which leads to a walkway and onto the glass entrance.

Once inside, there is a hostess and a sofa that separates the waiting patrons from the diners. I would highly recommend obtaining a reservation to avoid any long wait as the place can get pretty full.

There are basically three dining sections. One is along the bar with a darker and more sexy feel. The second is their main dining area that is well-lit. The third is a secluded section that can be reserved for groups looking for private dining.

Here is the sexy bar with it's fuschia lighting theme.

Across the bar are small round tables to accommodate a couples wishing to give each other their attention than collectively facing the bartender.

Back to the main dining area.

Once your table is ready, you're promptly seated and provided their menu which at that time they were serving their lunch 3-course prix fixe.

You have a simple, but elegantly set table with fresh orchids and salt seasoning on one side.

While individual servings of jellies, jam, marmalade, hot sauce and a variety of sugar on the other side.

First order of the day is to wake oneself up with a serving of homemade ginger ale.

The Black Truffle Fontina Cheese Pizza was the highlight of my meal. Good choice for using black truffles which made is more pronounced. The crust was definitely light and crispy.

Another appie that arrived was the "Black Pepper" Crab Fritter. Four delicately fried balls sitting on a bed of thick and sweet black pepper sauce. I could have ended my meal right there and gave the restaurant a perfect 10.

Alas the rest of the course arrived.

The Grilled MARKET Burger which two pieces of sirloin patties, two fried pieces of onion rings, and finished with Russian dressing tasted too ordinary. They could have just easily called it a "Grilled Burger" than stamp their "MARKET" name on it. If you want a signature burger, go head to DB Bistro Moderne instead.

The burgers did look visually tasty and it actually very juicy. It still didn't deserve being the signature burger of any restaurant because it left me thinking, "this is the best you've got?"

We also had the Pacific Sole which was sitting on a bed of sauteed spinach and sweet garlic lemon broth. Again, nothing special taste-wise. While the plating was something you could easily find in any restaurant.

If I'm sounding too critical at this point, you would have to understand that we're talking about one of the restaurants of internationally acclaimed three-star Michelin chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

But then again the three Michelin stars does apply to his New York restaurant, Jean Georges. Still, the menu for Vancouver represent's a pick of the chef's favourite items from his other dining places.

Moving on to dessert. What we have here is Chocolate Pudding with whipped cream, err softly whipped cream, and crystallized Violets. But as I taste the minute amount of crystallized violets, I can't help to wonder if this was necessary as the chocolate itself drowns the delicate violet taste. The pudding and whipped cream alone was wonderful. The violets made it look fancier especially on paper.

Next up was the Green Apple Crisp with a small scoop of Cinnamon ice cream. The only portion I loved with this dessert was the crispy topping of baked dough and sugar. The green apple was too tart that it kept over-powering even the sweet crisps. While I was distracted by the ice particles in the Cinnamon ice cream which I would have forgave if it was a sorbet.

Overall, the main entree and dessert was a bit disappointing. Although it was technically cooked and assembled almost perfectly, the taste was pretty much ordinary. There was no character in the dishes. If I stopped at the appetizers, it would have been a great experience.

I still did enjoy the overall ambiance and service that I would definitely come back and go thru MARKET's selection.

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