Ask any sane person and they were probably tell you not to go to a restaurant within a week of it first opening it’s doors. The thing is, Market Calgary was just too tempting to avoid. Yep their style is consistent with the whole “local, seasonal, sustainable” bandwagon that everyone has jumped on lately. But they don’t just talk the talk, they actually walk the walk. If you don’t believe me, check out their Urban Cultivator, a little garden right there in the restaurant, supplying all of the herbs. Well it’s not smack dab in the middle of the restaurant but you get my drift.
Before we get to the food, let’s talk a little bit about the space itself. I loved the design, LOVED it. There’s a stark contrast between the bar (which is all black) and the dining room (which is whiter than white). The clean lines make it super modern. My favorite parts were definitely the chalkboard walls covered in pictures of different vegetables (I was told that all of the drawings were done by customers) and the plants in little glass teardrops hanging from the ceiling. Kudos to the designer!
Ok enough of that, the most important part is always the food of course. My dad ordered the burger on a homemade brioche bun with bacon and beer cheese. Beer cheese? What is that you might ask? Well apparently it was made using Granville Island Pale Ale. A neat idea I thought. As you might suspect the burger meat itself was all ground in-house using a combination of short rib, chuck and some other part of the cow that I now cannot remember. Because of this they were able to cook it med-rare (which in my opinion, even as a vegetarian, is the only temperature that beef should be cooked to…but what credibility do I have?). Overall, it was a winner.
As for myself, I had to be a bit difficult. The menu is pretty short and simple to begin with, which didn’t leave me with too many vegetarian options. Soup and salad perhaps? Maybe some perogies? But having baked in kitchens in the past I am always curious to try out homemade bread wherever I go. When I asked if the kitchen could make me some sort of vegetarian sandwich I did cringe a bit inside (knowing that their response, regardless of whether they would admit it or not would be “damn you vegetarian” – I’m sorry!) but they were more than accommodating. Not that I blame them though, one bad review gone viral from someone like me and it would definitely turn away other potential veggie customers.
The sandwich that they whipped up was delicious. Funny how fresh bread and veggies can taste so good. Roasted pepper, cucumber pickles, sunchokes and wheatgrass all piled onto a brioche bun slathered in a mustardy spread of sorts. I’m pretty sure it would sell if they put it on the menu. I’d order it again that’s for sure. The salad was also worth mentioning. Beets, greens and a honeycomb vinaigrette. But it was really the little details that made it stand out. Like the celery leaves or the sunchokes (why don’t more people cook with these things!?!?!).
We opted against dessert but right now their menu includes items like chocolate cake with beet icecream or “liquid cheesecake” with pink lady gelato. Apparently it changes every 3 weeks though so be sure to keep updated.
So what’s the verdict? I loved the space, loved the food and I have no complaints about the service either. I had high hopes going in and they didn’t let me down. Market will be seeing me again in the future, no doubt about it!