To Market, to Market

How can a restaurant located next to a chocolate factory go too wrong? That was the first thing a friend and I thought when we went to Market in Raleigh, N.C. for lunch recently. The aroma from Escazu, which shares the small building, alone was worth the trip and made it easier to find the restaurant than the microscopic sign did. But big isn’t the goal for this comfortingly casual neighborhood spot at 938 N. Blount St. in Mordecai.

Owner/chef Chad McIntyre’s goal for Market is to use as much local and organic food as possible, and to keep the dishes simple. We had a lunch of mostly ups, with a couple of downs. The Grilled Avocado and Roasted Corn Salad included a small miracle: Tofu that I actually liked. I’m famous for my disdain of the creepy curd. This tofu was sliced thin and seriously grilled, proving, yet again, that I WILL eat anything if it’s grilled. And with all the other fresh goodies, and slightly sweet dressing.

The soup of the day was misleadingly described as gazpacho – it was actually a creamy cucumber that came with pickled carrots and a sort of pico de gallo to mix in to taste. Good, but not gazpacho. My friend and I shared an order of Crack Fries. Now, ever since Momofuku came up with Crack Pie (which it has copyrighted), everyone’s trying to describe decadently good dishes as “crack.” It raises the expectations pretty high. These were some good fries – sprinkled with parmesan cheese and truffle oil – but what I liked primarily was how well the fries were cooked. (But, hey, I don’t even think Crack Pie is all that; it’s a rich chess pie from the old South.)

A couple of downs. When I asked what Kale Chips were, the waitress brought us a sample. They’re small leaves of kale flash-fried to crunchiness. I’ve seen basil done this way, but used as a garnish. As a snack, it left a little to be desired. And the tortilla on my friend’s fish tacos (made with nicely grilled fish) was hard. Also, I have to ask: If you’re stressing local ingredients, why no local brews on the beer list?

But that’s just a couple of things. I enjoyed the walk in-sit down-hang out vibe of the place. And the desserts held us longer. My friend got strawberries with balsamic vinegar and black pepper over mascarpone ice cream. I couldn’t resist the weird idea of coconut-avocado gelato. We each loved our own choice (well, I liked hers, too). The gelato was not overly sweet and tasted of both ingredients; it worked.

At the end of the meal, I noticed something. The food had not been overly salty. I’m sensitive to salt, and usually I notice it in restaurant food. I didn’t here. Also, there were no salt shakers on the tables.


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2 Responses to “To Market, to Market”


  • Comment from Dogfood Provider

    Noticed the same thing about the salt when I went to Market last week. MY companions could have done with more fish on their fish (snapper, I believe it was) tacos and both added lime juice to their tacos. I had the pressed chipotle chicken and it was scrumptious. I’ll be back, gladly!

  • Comment from Debbie Moose

    My companion felt the lack of salt, but I was glad. And the filling for her tacos was tasty and ample – just the tortilla was hard. It may be they’re still working on consistency – they haven’t been open very long.


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