Restaurant Review Roulette: Market Restaurant

Did you miss me?  Sorry, but I’ve been on vacation and really haven’t even thought about writing.  My timing was pretty good, however, as the N&O didn’t have a review last week, with it being the fifth Friday of the month.

This week’s contestant is Market Restaurant, the hip place in Raleigh’s Mordecai neighborhood that focuses on local, organic fare.  This place has  been favorably reviewed by Urbanspoon reviewers and the omnipresent Yelpsters.  It has a chef who is committed to things that foodies (and food critics) like: flavorful, local ingredients, simply prepared, well-presented.  It’s in a cool neighborhood.  And the prices are reasonable, with the most expensive thing on the menu (except for the fish of the day) will run you 16 bucks.

Based on these considerations, I expect Market to get a decent review from Greg Cox.  It’s his type of place, and the on-line reviews have been pretty favorable.  Once again, this is a place I haven’t visited yet (do you get the sense that I really don’t get out all that much?), but I’m feeling that Market will garner 4 stars.

Here are the odds:

5 stars — 25 to 1

4.5 stars –  2 to 1

4 stars — 1 to 1

3.5 stars — 5 to 2

3 stars — 4 to 1

2.5 stars —  7 to 1

2 stars — 13 to 1

1.5 stars — 27 to 1

1 star — 75 to 1

How many stars would you give Market?  And how many stars will Greg Cox give it?


Edit, August 6, 2010 — Nailed this one!  Market got 4 stars from Greg Cox in today’s N&O, with Cox praising the seafood options in particular.


17 Responses to Restaurant Review Roulette: Market Restaurant

  1. Mary says:

    I’m heading there on Friday to try it out – ever since I read about the “crack fries” (fried in duck fat and tossed with truffle oil and herbs), I’ve been wanting to go.

  2. Ben says:

    I gave Market 3.5 stars after going there shortly after they opened. I thought the fish tacos were very good. The crack fries were only ok. Since then, I’ve heard some good and some ok things about the place. I would definitely go back.

  3. L says:

    I tried it in June for dinner and enjoyed it. Casual, relaxed atmosphere (even though it was a bit warm inside). The fish special was really good (I always appreciate places that prepare fish simply without sauce that mask the flavors) and enjoyed a couple appetizers (a nice eggplant one as well as the zucchini pancake). Dessert was interesting, but wish I went to Escazu next door instead. I would definitely go back for dinner and would like to try it out for lunch.

  4. Claire says:

    I would give it no more than one star. I really wanted this place to be awesome, and I love the concept, but both the quality of the meal and the quality of customer service were disappointing.

    I went for a 1pm lunch, and they were already out of four items.

    When we ordered the skirt steak salad, the waitress came back to tell us there wasn’t enough steak for a whole salad – was it okay to add chicken or something else? No, not really, because we wanted what we ordered. Begrudgingly we went with tofu, but it was weird/disappointing; we wished another menu item had been recommended altogether.

    The shrimp/watermelon salad was equally disappointing – only 4 shrimp and overdressed, wilted greens.

    We were brought glasses and a water bottle but it was never poured out for us. We mentioned that $10 for the steak salad seemed too much considering the lack of steak, but the item wasn’t reduced on our bill.

    Perhaps people think Market should get 4 stars simply for being a great idea–and I agree, who doesn’t want to support local, organic food?–but still having these kinks to work out after it’s been open this long just isn’t acceptable to me. I won’t be going back.

  5. Lanier says:

    I have now eaten at Market 4 times – 3 dinners and 1 lunch. I’m REALLY trying to like it as I love the concept and it is in my neighborhood. However, I find it disappointing each time. The crack fries aren’t that good; the service is sub-par (took at least 10 mins to get salt/ pepper when there were only 3 other tables – then I was made to feel guilty for asking for seasonings); and most things are kinda bland. But, I have found a few things I like (though the awesome grilled avocado and corn salad is now off the menu) and i LOVE the Cojita! Maybe 2-2.5 stars at most…?

  6. Nick says:

    I’m disappointed to hear that about the poor experiences from Claire and Lanier at Market. I hope that I can take this opportunity to respond to these complaints.

    @Claire – All of our meats come from local producers that are organic and Animal Welfare Approved and we do not obtain them in large quantities; Since we opened in May, it has been very difficult to forecast how much of certain items to keep in stock. We try to have enough of every menu item every day, but our attempts don’t always succeed–this is something we hope will get better over time. Our goal is to have the freshest ingredients available, and that unfortunately means sometimes running out.
    I do regret that you were charged full price for the steak salad when we were out of the main item. This should not have happened. If you decide to return, please let me know and we will try to make it up to you.

    @Lanier – Our goal is to be a casual neighborhood restaurant, so we really value our community and need to hear from you if something is off. I’m very concerned about the service comments and this is something we will be working to address ASAP.

  7. @PeteBellTV says:

    I’m looking forward to visiting Market!
    @Nick, you did the right thing by responding to the issues.

    I have some friends who are starting up the Raleigh City Farm, with a potential land plot on the corner of Franklin and Blount st…
    Seems like it would be a great fit for next spring!
    You could pick veggies to order!

  8. Nick says:

    @Varmint – Spot on! You definitely nailed this one, and we couldn’t be more pleased.

    Thanks @PeteBellTV… mark us down as EXTREMELY interested in Raleigh City Farm! I believe someone has already been in contact with Chef Chad and we’re definitely looking forward to it.

  9. James says:

    Tried Market last evening. Food is outstanding. Appetizers and main courses were all wonderfully prepared and delicious. Definitely worth return trips. The cocktails also looked very interesting. Will try them when I return.

    That said, the front of the house is a work in progress. The AC barely functions. It was sweltering. I’ll return when the weather cools or they get the AC fixed. Stemware would be nice, as would a wine list with more than 8-10 offerings. Wait staff was working hard, but they seemed overwhelmed.

    My hope is that the quality of the food stays as high as it is and buys them enough time to iron out the front of the house kinks. I had family in the restaurant business for 30 years, so I know it’s not easy, but they’ve got the hard part right, now it’s just a matter of cleaning up a few rough edges.

    Also, to Nick – The food is far too good to be a “casual neighborhood” restaurant. Others may disagree, but when I hear “casual neighborhood”, I think rubber chicken, vegetable medley, and a bevy of fried appetizers. If the food quality stays where it is, the front of the house shapes up a touch, and people continue talking like they are now, your going to become a destination restaurant whether that’s your goal or not.

  10. Nick says:

    Thanks for the feedback James, we really appreciate it. Casual neighborhood place or destination spot, we’ll take it! Our mission is to serve good, responsibly produced and reasonably-priced food in a relaxed atmosphere.
    I can’t disagree with any of your gripes. I’ll avoid making excuses here and just confirm that they will be addressed.

  11. just a gal says:

    Nick @ Market, other chefs serving local foods, foodies and just folks who like food, farmers – everyone interested in making a tasteful difference, sign up for the 10% Campaign @

  12. MB says:

    We ate there for dinner on Tuesday evening. We arrived early and no other diners there yet. It’s casual and quirkly which I adore. Cojitos were the special drink of the night and they were yummy. Truly a perfect summer time drink. We were able to get the crack fries even though it was dinner and they are only served at lunch. Lucky us because they were delicious. The zucchini appetizer was wonderful as well. The entrees though were only okay. I ordered the bbq chicken and although it was moist it really didn’t have any flavor. I was hoping that the Cheerwine sauce would be good but was disappointed. My husband ordered the shrimp and chorizo which we felt was a take on gumbo minus the rice. The shrimp were cooked well but tasted bland. The best thing that came with the entrees was the scalloped potatoes. YUMMY!

    As a suggestion, if you’re going to make a Cheerwine sauce you might want to offer the soda as well. Prices are okay and the chocolate place next door is a “don’t miss”. However, if the entrees are just okay the next time, we won’t be back.

  13. Kim says:

    I took a visitor from San Diego to Market in early July. We were extremely disappointed. The chicken salad contained all dark meat laden with fat and gristle. If the salad was designed to feature dark meat, the menu should reflect this. The waitperson was not familiar with the menu and most questions had to be taken to the kitchen to be addressed.
    The restaurant was uncomfortable due to heat/humidity.
    I wish we could have dined with some of these folks who had a pleasant experience, as I fully support the concept. Why not feature NC wines if you’re behind local? Sure, our wine industry is not mature, but there are some hidden treasures out there.
    I won’t be going back.
    I’m rethinking all N&O restaurant reviews as a result too.

  14. james says:

    The point of local is to showcase local quality. We’re an agrarian state with numerous wonderful farms that provide us with access to fresh pork, seafood, and produce much of the year. We can grow/produce world class meats and vegetables. NC does not produce world class wine. For the most part, it’s not even competitive in the US market, much less the world market. The few hidden gems are average at best on the world market.

  15. diego1973 says:

    James is right. How often do you ever go out to eat and ask for a North Carolina wine? You probably don’t, ever. So, why would any restaurant stock a variety of wines that no one wants to drink. Now, beer is a different story and I do wish Market would carry a better selection of local beers.

  16. Kim says:

    James and diego1973, i actually try to engage all local restaurant folk in discussion about nc wine every time i go out to eat, as i feel the nc wine industry is trying to do the right things, and increased awareness would lead to increased support, and then greater quality/quantity. is doing the evangelical and educational work to help awareness.
    Raffaldini is producing some great stuff, including a Vermintino that was selected by the White House for presentation as gifts to foreign dignitaries.
    Surry County Community College (yes, i said Community College!) is turning out an amazing white called “Surry Cellars 2008 Chardonel”

  17. Charlie says:

    I like many had high hopes, but was utterly disappointed. Crab cake was soggy and WAY too fishy (and I usually like fishy things), couldn’t even finish….and I love crabcakes. Ceviche was….eh, not gross, but not good…like sweet tomato juice. Again, couldn’t finish. Also the BBQ chicken breast….at this point I seriously questioned the chefs ability, as I have cooked chicken breasts at home that would put this to shame (and I’m not that good a cook). And then the blueberry crumble….the “crumble” was raw dough, and not in a good way. BAD.

    To top it off, my wife and I both got ill that evening after dinner. I called the restaurant to let them know we had gotten food poisoning from something we ate there, but instead of an apology, the manager argued with me, telling me I didn’t have food poisoning and that everything they had was fresh. Umm, ok, tell that to my toilet bowl. He basically ended it by telling me to bring him a doctor’s note. Really? I wasn’t asking for anything, not sure why I needed to prove anything, just trying to save some other diner the experience I had.

    That being the case, I will never go back, and will make sure none of my friends or family does either.

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