Marche Moderne #2

South Coast Plaza
3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa
(714) 434-7900
Chefs: Florent and Amelia Marneau

One of our favorite restaurants in Orange County is Marche Moderne located in South Coast Plaza. Not your typical mall food at the husband and wife run French restaurant. This quaint and charming restaurant serves up some of the best French food in Orange County and has one of the best prix fixe lunch specials around. For $20 or $25 depending on what's on the menu, you get an excellent 3 course meal that could easily cost $40 to $50+ elsewhere.

Charcuterie: homemade duck terrine, salame rosa, la quericia prosciutto, chorizo sarta, saucisson sec, tast, pickled vegetables, mustard cream - 13
Love the presentation of this beautiful charcuterie plate. An excellent assortment of hams, saucissons, and a terrine. This plate has it all with cornichons, wonderful meats, and nice little baguettes. Always a great way to start off a meal.

Selection of breads for the day.

Pencil asparagus and shaved zucchini salad, wild argula, buttermilk-mustard vinaigrette and shaved parmesan.
Reading the description of the salad, everything sounded wonderful and I was sure this would be another excellent salad.  This could have been and would have been if not for the saltiness of the salad. The buttermilk-mustard vinaigrette with the combination of the shaved parmesan, made this salad too salty for me.

Braised Korubuta pork shanks, couscous, mint emulsion, cilantro, almond, garbanzo beans
Pefectly braised and fork tender korubuta pork shanks. The shank was so flavorful, moist, and delicious. Normally not a huge fan of couscous or garbanzo beans, I really enjoyed how the perfectly cooked couscous complemented the pork here. The mint emulsion did a fantastic job of cooling and lightening up the stronger flavor of the pork and the jus. Great dish.

Roasted seared albacore, ponzu, enoki mushrooms, crispy yams, cilantro and scallions salad.
This dish was definitely an Asian accented dish. A bit of a surprise coming from a French restaurant. This dish displays the skills of Chef Florent into other cuisines. The seared albacore was perfectly seared with just the outer layer being cooked and the inner still raw. I enjoyed the use of the cilantro and scallions in the dish to add a herbiness and brightness to this dish. The ponzu was perfectly executed with just the right of flavoring, not too salty, acidic, or sweet. I really enjoyed the freshness of this dish.

Lemon semolina cake, strawberry mousseline, vanilla stewed blueberries
The presentation of this dish was simple yet masterfully done. Desserts at Marche Moderne are created by Amelia Marneau. Loved the light flavors of this dessert. Slight but present flavor of lemon on the semolina cake with the concentrated flavor of vanilla stewed blueberries and the light airy strawberry mousseline. Great way to end the meal.

Another great meal at Marche Moderne. I would not hesitate to return and never do hesitate. There is a reason why Marche Moderne is considered one of the best in Orange County.


Daniel Boulud Brasserie - Las Vegas

Wynn Hotel - Las Vegas

After watching episodes of "After Hours with Daniel" on Hulu, I have gained even more respect for this renowned chef. Although Daniel Boulud Brasserie isn't his flagship restaurant and not as creative as the dishes he would normally serve, I figured this is as close as I would get for now.

The restaurant was participating in the "Taste of Wynn" and offering a prix fixe dinner for $49. 

Duck Terrine with red onion marmalade
The duck terrine was served with an assortment of pickled vegetables and bread on the side. I liked the fun yet simple plating on the dish that allowed me to try out different combination of vegetables and either mustard or the red onion marmalade.

Parsnip Soup with black walnut spiced bread
Since the wifey got the terrine, I thought it would be a good opportunity to try out the parsnip soup with black walnut spiced bread. The soup was smooth with a subdued but present parsnip flavor. I thought the black walnut spiced bread was a nice addition to the dish.

Can't comment on these much. I didn't get to try them out. Our dining companions thought it was OK and a different interpretation of escargots.

DB Burger - 9oz sirloin stuffed with braised short ribs, foie gras, and black truffle - 32
Some of our friends joined us on this meal and instead of ordering the prix fixe menu one of them decided to try out the DB Burger. My friends were generous enough to offer a bite of the DB Burger, but the bite I had didn't have any foie gras or black truffle or at least enough to taste it. He commented that he wasn't all that impressed with the DB Burger either.

Sea Scallops - beurre noisette, caper, raisin, cauliflower
The presentation was nice with a row of scallops alternating with cauliflower, pearl onions and tomatoes. The sauce lightly flavored the scallops, and the other components on the dish nicely added a fresh taste to the dish.  But overall, the flavors were a bit too mild and didn't wow me as much as other scallop dishes I've tried.

Steak frites - 8 oz sirloin onion compote french fries watercress salad
Simple, straightforward and delicious. Here we have a a classic brasserie dish - the steak frites. The steak was cooked perfectly to a specified medium rare. I appreciated the addition of the onion marmalade and the watercress salad to add to extra flavor and variety to this simple dish. The frites were fantastic as well, perfectly fried.

Chocolate Hazelnut Fondant
The chocolate hazelnut fondant was smooth as a fondant should be. The chocolate and hazelnut flavors had just the right amount of flavor and to balance each other out. The scoop of ice cream and the crisp nicely added extra texture and flavor to the already rich dessert.

Warm Apple Tatin with maple ice cream
This reminded me of a sophisticated gourmet apple pie. The apples were caramelized in butter and sugar. I think I would rather have a warm, simple comforting apple pie than this gourmet version. It was a bit tricky to try to get all the components of the dessert in a perfect bite.

We ended our meal with some complimentary mignardises from the restaurant. Nice little touch.

Service was excellent during out meal. There was an incident where a fork almost fell off of the table, and the waiter with ninja-like instincts magically caught the fork midair. Daniel Boulud Brasserie serves simple brasserie food. Don't expect to be wowed by creativity; this is simple brasserie food that is done very well. I heard the restaurant will be closing in towards the end of May. I'll be sad to see this restaurant go.


Egg & I - Las Vegas

4533 W. Sahara Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89102
Hours - 6AM to 3PM

Every time I come to Las Vegas, I always try new places, preferring not to go to the same restaurant again unless the restaurant is that damn good or worth it. For some reason, this rule of mine has been thrown out the window the last 4 times I have been to Las Vegas. I keep coming back to Egg and I to get my breakfast fix and I'm not even a huge breakfast lover. 

Similar to the Korean restaurants that use a button to get the waiter's attention or Brazilian BBQ with the green for keep it coming or the red for I am stuffed..."no more!!!" Egg and I has the flip-the-egg sign with the sad face signifying that I am one unhappy egg and need something. And the smiley face side is left to say "I am a happy camper."

Homemade banana nut muffin - complimentary 
Took some friends here for their first time and one of our friends took a bite and responded, "The Bomb!" That pretty much sums it up for me too.

Banana pancakes - These pancakes are a must for any banana pancake lover. Fluffy and moist with
the perfect amount of bananas strategically placed. The bananas somehow slightly get caramelized adding to the flavor of these pancakes.

Ultimate Skillet - Sausage, ham, bacon, mushroom, onions, tomato, bell pepper, spinach, and eggs any way you like. 
The wifey ordered the Ultimate Skillet. Ultimate is the word when describing this skillet. Underneath this meat and veggie mixture is the yummy ranch potatoes. All of these components come together harmoniously to make a delicious and hearty skillet.

Blackened Prime Rib Benny - Grilled croissant with diced prime rib, sauteed spinach, roasted bell peppers and two poached eggs then covered in hollandaise sauce.
I have been to Egg and I four times, and each of the four times I have ordered the Blackened Prime Rib Benny. I love breaking into the poached eggs, allowing the yokes to ooze out. Another favorite of mine is the ranch potatoes. The tots are seasoned with a Lawry like seasoning salt that makes them all the more addicting.

Normally I wouldn't go out of my way for a breakfast or find myself craving it. Great prices, great portions, and great food has me coming back each and every time I come to Las Vegas. Egg and I is not a fancy pants establishment. This place knows what it does and does it well. Large portions and a fulfilling meal is what you get here. I'll be here next time I'm in Vegas. See you soon Egg and I!!