MRKT (Market) Restaurant
10542 Jasper Ave NW
My poor camera was dropped at the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, and the lens no longer retracts. I loved that camera – but after extensive research, im back in the game with a new camera! Happy to do my first post with pics from my new baby.
On a rainy dreary day, we head down the “ugly” part of Jasper Avenue to try the new restaurant by Carla Alexander of Soul Soup and Sal Di Maio who owns the gastropub downstairs, Red Star. MRKT Market is simply that – a “fresh market” concept restaurant where the limited menu provides you with a few choices in terms of sandwiches, soups, and specials. 3 sandwiches, 3 soups, one special the day we were there.
The interior feels like a wooden airplane fuselage. I’ve heard canoe, and upscale log cabin (rather generous i’d say), it is nonetheless hip, while managing some warmth. The most prominent feature of MRKT market is the long table that allows many diners to share a meal.
The process is simple – you head up to the counter to order, you pay, and you take a number and sit down. I like the ordering process – manages to be quick, while staff are still able to provide a bit of service in terms of explaining the menu to you. Perfect for a quick slow lunch.
Most of us elect to go with the soup and sandwich combo, which is fairly priced at $13. With three choices of sandwich, beef with edam, caramelized onions, and pesto, a vegetarian option, and calabrese with prosciutto, edam, basil, toasted tomato and mixed greens, i opt for the Calabrese.
The most prominent thing at first glance is the freshness of the bread. It’s crisp, chewy, well structured. A great sandwich bread. The filling is also excellent – well balanced in flavours, it’s not a “man-wich”, but it’s definitely sufficiently portioned for lunch.
A few of my dining companions order the beef, and I have to say, it’s awesome. Tender and flavourful, the thinly sliced beef melds well with the flavours of the pesto and cheese. It’s a great success of a sandwich.
Soup wise, we also have three choices – a meat, veg, and fish based soup. Our table tries the trifecta – mexican beef + black bean, ghanian seafood, roasted garlic + potato leak. From the proprietor of Soul Soup, I was expecting great things.
In reality, the soup was a bit bland. While the flavours were nice, they all just melded into a subtle, mono flavour. Surprisingly enough, the ladies in the group enjoyed it – they felt it was a nice counter point to a punchy sandwich, and was made with fresh and tasty ingredients. The men were underwhelmed.
A little slow with the new camera, by the time i get to the one person who had ordered the special, it’s almost gone! The market special was a tagliatelle pasta w/bacon, tomato, asiago cheese, scallions, cream, finished with a bit of pesto. It’s a triumph of freshness, with a fairly reasonable, if not slightly muted flavour. The pasta is well cooked, and the sauce is a very nice compliment. However, at $14, the serving size is definitely a “healthy” lunch portion. It would take two to fill me up.
Overall, Mrkt Market is a wonderful entry to the lunch, and soon to be dinner scene on Jasper Avenue. Right above Red Star, they offer some fresh local choices for good quality food. Portion sizes are a bit small – the ladies in the crowd felt the portion sizes were just right for lunch. The men left a bit hungry. No disputing the freshness or the quality though.
The sandwiches are the definite star of the show, but I expect them to pick up their game as they settle into their groove. Execution could probably be improved a bit, but as it stands, it’s still worth a visit. Combined with the recently opened Elm Cafe, downtown Edmonton has gotten two quality places for lunch. And that’s definite progress.