Has it really been 25 years?
Market Street Grill celebrates 2 1/2 decades in business this year, in a volatile market where keeping the doors open for five years is an achievement.
But as nearly everyone knows, Market Street has done more than survive. The success of the original downtown location spawned two additional restaurants, the Market Street Broiler in the University of Utah neighborhood and a second Market Street Grill in Cottonwood not to mention jump-starting the entire Gastronomy family of restaurants.
But many wonderful restaurants have come and gone in the time Market Street has been open so what's its secret?
For starters, it's the ambience. Each of the three Market Street restaurants has its own atmosphere. Diners can choose the classic urban ambience of the original downtown location, the casual and creative funkiness of the 1300 East store or (my favorite) the cool, classic-modern vibe of the Cottonwood eatery, where we ventured for a recent weeknight dinner.
But other intangibles go into explaining this restaurant's longevity. Market Street, and in particular the Cottonwood and 1300 East locations, welcome children. There is a good kids' menu at an excellent price, and the meal is paced in a luxurious, leisurely fashion that nonetheless keeps the food coming so the kiddies don't get too bored.
Of course, if you're out for a romantic dinner, don't worry: the professional staff will seat you far from the rowdier families.
Another nice thing about Market Street is that it doesn't have to be a splurge. My younger sister Cassie used to work in the Cottonwood area, and we often met at that Market Street for lunch. We'd enjoy bowls of clam chowder and crusty bread and share dessert, getting a great meal in a beautiful setting for less than $20. And in honor of the anniversary, all Market Street locations are offering three-course lunch and dinner specials that include soup or salad, entree and dessert for $25, starting Oct. 1.
However, if you are willing or able to spend, Market Street can accommodate you with a meal that will always feel worth the price. On our recent visit, my husband had the filet mignon, a luscious piece of meat that, despite being cooked medium-well as per his specifications, was succulent and tender, with a well-seasoned sear on the outside. He had it with fresh salad and delicious creamy au gratin potatoes.
I indulged myself with the Hawaiian blue marlin, a jewel on a menu filled with them. It's a sizable piece of fresh, meaty fish, strongly flavored and topped with a wasabi plum sauce whose sweetness deepens the taste. Don't be put off by the wasabi: there's just a breath of spice. With the marlin, I had simply prepared, buttery parsley-boiled potatoes and bright green crisp-tender beans.
It's amazing that we could eat our meals, considering the delights that came before, from the yeasty, extra-crusty loaf of bread served straightaway to the savory hot spinach, crab and artichoke dip that arrived with plenty of crispy tortilla chips an inspired pairing.
And then there's the clam chowder, which is exactly right. From the velvety texture to the proportions of vegetables, potatoes and clams to the thoughtful seasoning and peppery finish, it doesn't get better than this.
Except maybe for the dessert. After scarfing down their shrimp and spaghetti dinners, the kids were thrilled to receive bowls of ice cream topped with a rolled cookie. My husband had a gigantic mountain of chocolate layer cake, richly flavored with a firm, moist texture and fudgy frosting. I had my favorite, the sabayon with berries. It's a smooth, frothy concoction of egg yolks, wine and sugar, cooked and whipped to sweet, fruity and earthy perfection. And where does Market Street find such delicious berries all year long?
Just another part of the magic, I guess.Appetizers and sides $2.49-$10.99, oysters $9.99-$17.99, salads and sandwiches $3.99-$18.99, pasta $10.99-$18.99, steaks and chicken $18.99-$35.99, fried seafood $12.99-$19.99, seafood favorites $18.99-$49.99, "fresh catch" seafood $18.99-$24.99, nightly specials $15.99, kids' meals $4.99, desserts about $5.99-$6.99.
Stacey Kratz is a free-lance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret Morning News. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org