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Mark Alyn

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As a host, reporter and writer Mark has talked about and scribbled about food, wine and travel. ...Read More

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Celebrating 20 Years in San Francisco
By: Mark Alyn   |    January 7, 2013   |   0 Comments (0) (0)

One Market

The restaurant business is difficult at best. Many places donít last a year and so when a restaurant celebrates 20 years in business, it must be something special. One Market is that kind of place.†

†Over the years, One Market has remained a favorite of locals, winning a variety of best and favorite dining awards. The bill of fare reflects current culinary trends and the variety of weekly specials is staggering.

Entering One Market you immediately get the feel of elegance, yet itís a comfortable elegance. The room is large yet the noise level is moderate. I hate when you canít hear the people youíre dining with talk. I also like to ease drop on surrounding tables, so a reasonable threshold of sound is necessary. Itís true Iím noisy.

Actually, we listened to the young couple at the table next to us. They really seemed to love food. We copied some of their orders based on what they said about each dish. It seems they listened to us and ordered a few of our selections as well. We ended up talking about food and the restaurant.

Service is attentive, without being pushy or obtrusive. Wait staff are knowledgeable and friendly.

With many notable wine awards, the list here is extensive and only features American wine. From sparkling to reds, only American crafted wines are available. There is a fine collection of wines by the glass. This is ideal as I like bold wines and my wife prefers lighter styles. The wines reflect from California for the most part, with some Oregon wines as well. I saw an interesting Pinot from Williamette Valley on the list. For the record, One Market features an astonishing 400 wines.

Each week One Market presents ďThe Beast.Ē This is a menu made from one animal. Iíve seen menus for goat and duck. This is a unique way for the chef and his crew to stretch their culinary skills. Itís a great concept.

Duck was the beast when I visited One Market. I wanted to try the duck eggs Benedict. Made with duck eggs, duck bacon and duck yolk hollandaise. It sounds so good. With so many items to choose from itís a difficult decision.

My starter was the lamb tongue served on a bed of lambs lettuce, Asian pear and puffed quinoa. The quinoa is the seed of a plant in the beet and spinach family. Served like a grain itís a popular ingredient with many chefs. I have not seen quinoa at a market yet. The tongue is tender and has a nice texture. Itís full of flavor. This is an unusual dish for any place other than a Middle Eastern eatery and is very good.

The Hawaiian Kampachi crudo was wonderful. Crudo is raw in Italian. This is really a great dish. The sweet tang of the Meyer lemon shines through. Meyer lemons have a distinctive flavor not sour or harsh like regular lemons. Thereís an after taste of sweet with Meyers. Fresh fennel adds a nice dash of light licorice. This dish is better than Iíve had in many sushi bars across the country.

The Devilís Gulch Rabbit was outstanding. Moist and meaty (rabbit can be boney) the basil-pork stuffing is full of flavor and offsets the mild taste of the rabbit. Keep in mind the stuffing is not overpowering. Sweet corn and pioppini mushrooms accompany the dish. Pioppini mushrooms are a favorite of mine. They have a rich, deep flavor not mild like their white cousins. The caps are dark with creamy stems. †

The Alaskan Halibut ďSous VideĒ was also very good. Sous Vide slow cooks food sealed in an airtight plastic bag and placed in a water bath. The slow cooking at a low temperature creates a very moist tender dish. The halibut is prepared with black radish, miso, maitake mushrooms and sea beans. Miso is a rich, fish flavored broth that adds to the flavor of the halibut. The maitake mushrooms are a Japanese variety with many health claims. Featured in many cooking styles from Thai to Italian, maitake mushrooms have an earthy flavor.

Brussel sprouts seem to be popular again. As a kid, I didnít like these cabbage related vegetable buds. Over the years, Iíve learned to tolerate them because my wife likes them. With these little cabbages popping up on menus all over, Iím actually starting to like them. The roasted brussel sprouts mixed with apple-wood smoked bacon is good. †As the saying goes everything is better with bacon. Even brussel sprouts. I would have like more bacon to give the dish a stronger bacon flavor.

Several other dishes on the menu temped me. The first one is the pan-roasted Wild Sturgeon with eggplant purťe, fresh snails and herbed panko. The second was the Duck breast with duck andouille, celery root and okra. Panko is a Japanese style breadcrumb found mostly at Japanese restaurants. The duck is prepared in a New Orleans fashion. These are two distinctly different dishes featured on the same menu with diverse backgrounds.† To me, this makes for interesting fare.

Valrhona Chocolate Bailey's Cake is outstanding. Our neighbors ordered the same dessert once they saw how chocolaty this is. Rich and moist this is a wonderful finish to a meal. Valrhona chocolate is from France and used in cooking throughout the world. Itís a unique blend, which is the standard for outstanding chocolate.

Chef Mark Dommen has created an eclectic menu with interesting combinations designed to appeal to any palate. Thatís the magic of One Market, having a wide range of dishes served in a comfortable yet upscale atmosphere.

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