Saturday, August 11, 2007

47 restaurants in 47 days: #22, MarketBar

One Ferry Building
San Francisco

We were on another foodie run, primarily for more Recchiuti chocolate. (This week’s special: “whoppie pies,” devils’ food cake with house-made marshmallow filling and a coating of bittersweet chocolate. I haven’t tried mine yet, but it smells like the best Easter basket ever. But I digress.)

It was after 7 p.m., the food market was closing, and we were four hungry people. (With bags full of chocolate. Hmm...) MarketBar was the only nearby restaurant that didn’t have a two-hour wait, but it turned out to be a good choice.

The “market menu” for the day intrigued the grown-ups, and the kids appreciated the pommes frites. There was no children’s menu, but a friendly waiter offered to bring cheese pizza or plain pasta for the boys, and the fries came with a kid-sized supply of ketchup.

The starters on the prix-fixe menu included an unusual potato-chili soup with roasted corn, zucchini and epazote. It tasted pleasantly like chips and salsa. I also tried a salad of fresh butter lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, blue cheese and balsamic vinaigrette.

One of the main courses was a nicely grilled swordfish with flat beans and house-cured pancetta in a tomato beurre blanc sauce. I particularly enjoyed the other entrée we tried, a luxurious shellfish risotto. Risotto can be bland and unimaginative, but this one must have contained as much protein as rice. There were chunks of lobster, Dungeness crab, sea scallops, mussels, shrimp, and clams, tossed with tomatoes, diced grilled mushrooms and zucchini.

Desserts on the market menu included tres leches cake, served with strawberry sorbet and fresh strawberries. The other was pineapple polenta cake, which turned out to be not very cake-like at all. The warm pineapple, cooked to somewhere between thin slices and a compote, was topped with a delicious coconut sorbet. Nearly hidden at the bottom was the polenta cake, which had the consistency of a crumble, almost like biscotti.

Marketbar in San Francisco

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