A feast for the senses at Marche' Moderne restaurant near Los Angeles

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  • Chef Florent Marneau holds center stage like a gastronomical Gustavo Dudemal, conducting the culinary festivities with flair and panache as he puts the finishing touches to an order of appetizers. Chef Florent Marneau holds center stage like a gastronomical Gustavo Dudemal, conducting the culinary festivities with flair and panache as he puts the finishing touches to an order of appetizers. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The interior of Marche' Moderne as seen from the fireplace at the back of the room, an elegant but intimate setting for a sensational gastronomic experience. The interior of Marche' Moderne as seen from the fireplace at the back of the room, an elegant but intimate setting for a sensational gastronomic experience. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The view from the front door of Marche' Moderne, a beautifully appointed room with elegant banquets, hardwood floors, rich dark colors, and the open kitchen center stage. The view from the front door of Marche' Moderne, a beautifully appointed room with elegant banquets, hardwood floors, rich dark colors, and the open kitchen center stage. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Gourmets flock to be in the presence of a great chef, like Florent Marneau, who is actually at center stage of his open kitchen night after night personally turning out the evenings culinary delights. Gourmets flock to be in the presence of a great chef, like Florent Marneau, who is actually at center stage of his open kitchen night after night personally turning out the evenings culinary delights. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Amelia Marneau is the pastry chef extraordinaire and the indispensable partner to her husband Florent  as they continue into the 6th year of owning and running Marche' Moderne in Costa Mesa. Amelia Marneau is the pastry chef extraordinaire and the indispensable partner to her husband Florent as they continue into the 6th year of owning and running Marche' Moderne in Costa Mesa. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The patio at Marche' Moderne features booths and tables in a more relaxed atmosphere under a retractable roof for dining under the stars on warm summer nights. The patio at Marche' Moderne features booths and tables in a more relaxed atmosphere under a retractable roof for dining under the stars on warm summer nights. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The bar at Marche' Moderne, featuring numerous climate controlled wines by the glass. The bar at Marche' Moderne, featuring numerous climate controlled wines by the glass. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • New Zealand abalone tempura over an heirloom tomato risotto is as close to culinary heaven as you are liable to get on this Earth, a spectacular, immaculately tender signature dish. New Zealand abalone tempura over an heirloom tomato risotto is as close to culinary heaven as you are liable to get on this Earth, a spectacular, immaculately tender signature dish. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Braised short rib with cipollini onion and cremini mushrooms served in its own pot is nothing short of a revelation, a spectacular signature dish that melts in the mouth like nuggets of culinary gold. Braised short rib with cipollini onion and cremini mushrooms served in its own pot is nothing short of a revelation, a spectacular signature dish that melts in the mouth like nuggets of culinary gold. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • A 2010 Littorai Savoy Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir from winemaker of the year Ted Lemon is a spectacular complement to the brilliant cuisine at Marche' Moderne. A 2010 Littorai Savoy Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir from winemaker of the year Ted Lemon is a spectacular complement to the brilliant cuisine at Marche' Moderne. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Caribbean conch spoons in a vierge de coriander is a spectacular amuse bouche to start the evening with flair at Marche' Moderne. Caribbean conch spoons in a vierge de coriander is a spectacular amuse bouche to start the evening with flair at Marche' Moderne. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • An heirloom baby beet salad sourced from a local farm, lovingly presented alongside a basil and fresh goat milk panna cotta. An heirloom baby beet salad sourced from a local farm, lovingly presented alongside a basil and fresh goat milk panna cotta. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Ris de veau" sweetbreads sautéed ala provencale are a spectacular, plump juicy burst of flavor with a crispy outer shell. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Roast Spanish octopus is tender and flavorful in a beautiful jus de citron at Marche' Moderne in Costa Mesa. Roast Spanish octopus is tender and flavorful in a beautiful jus de citron at Marche' Moderne in Costa Mesa. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The open kitchen is a whirl of activity on a typical night at Marche' Moderne in Costa Mesa outside of Los Angeles. The open kitchen is a whirl of activity on a typical night at Marche' Moderne in Costa Mesa outside of Los Angeles. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Sonoma lamb in a French feta cheese pomme aligot with a side order of fried Brussels spouts in balsamic and garlic. Sonoma lamb in a French feta cheese pomme aligot with a side order of fried Brussels spouts in balsamic and garlic. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Brittany sole Meniere with a polenta fontina is a classic demonstration of luscious, tender, delicate flavor at the truly amazing Marche' Moderne in Costa Mesa near Los Angeles. Brittany sole Meniere with a polenta fontina is a classic demonstration of luscious, tender, delicate flavor at the truly amazing Marche' Moderne in Costa Mesa near Los Angeles. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Chef Florent Marneau hard at work in the spotlight, finishing each and every dish that leaves the open kitchen at Marche' Modern. Chef Florent Marneau hard at work in the spotlight, finishing each and every dish that leaves the open kitchen at Marche' Modern. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Chef Florent Marneau puts the finishing touches to each dish that leaves his kitchen at Marche' Moderne. Chef Florent Marneau puts the finishing touches to each dish that leaves his kitchen at Marche' Moderne. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • A tarte of braeburn apple and crème d'amande with a fleur de caramel is just one of Amelia Marneau's astonishing deserts at Marche' Moderne. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Amelia Marneau holds a macaron au chocolat in front of the sensational beignets with butterscotch pot du crème, two stand out deserts at Marche' Modern in Costa Mesa just outside of Los Angeles. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Amelia Marneau's unbelievably special beignets with a butterscotch pot de crème transcend all concepts of delight, a deliriously fabulous desert at Marche' Moderne in Costa Mesa near Los Angeles. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The banquets near the open kitchen at Marche' Moderne in Costa Mesa near Los Angeles. The banquets near the open kitchen at Marche' Moderne in Costa Mesa near Los Angeles. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The exterior of Marche' Moderne, on the third floor of the extremely upscale South Coast Plaza, just outside of Nordstrom's, and across the hall from Dior and Tiffany. The exterior of Marche' Moderne, on the third floor of the extremely upscale South Coast Plaza, just outside of Nordstrom's, and across the hall from Dior and Tiffany. Photo by: Alison Reynolds

COSTA MESA, CALIF., Nov. 23, 2013 -  Marche’ Moderne is Florent  and Amelia Marneau’s modern French culinary temple of haute cuisine disguised as a high end bistro. Both Gayot and Zagat rate it as one of the top restaurants in all of Los Angeles, and it more than lives up to its stellar reputation.

With Florent conducting the festivities from center stage in the open kitchen like a gastronomical Gustavo Dudemal, Marche’ Moderne is an extraordinary dining experience well worth making a special trip for.

Located in the extremely upscale South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, it commands a perch on the third floor just outside of Nordstrom’s and across from Dior and Tiffany. Imagine the aura of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills in an enclosed space, with Cartier down the hall, and the location doesn’t seem that odd

The key is a vivid dining experience that transcends the traditional in favor of innovative dishes that are immediately timeless. Florent Marneau creates a fiery palate of unique ingredients tempered with the restraint of delicate flavors brought to life.

Gourmets flock to be in the presence of a great chef who is actually at the center of his kitchen, personally turning out the evening’s dinner before your eyes.

His wife Amelia Marneau is the pastry chef extraordinaire, but also Florent’s indispensable partner in all aspects of both the restaurant and in life. They each followed separate paths for years as rising stars in Orange County, finally combining their professional talents 6 years ago by opening Marche’ Moderne.

Fine dining in Orange County has never been the same since, as foodies have beaten a path to their door, and critics have extolled the joys of their cuisine.

The restaurant is divided into a beautifully appointed dining room with elegant banquets, hard wood floors and rich dark colors.  It leads onto a more casually designed but spacious patio area with a series of booths and tables under a retractable roof that can reveal the sky on warm summer nights.

At the apex of one end of the dining room is the open kitchen. Florent is at center stage, in the spotlight, as he finishes each and every dish before it is served.

An amuse bouche of Caribbean conch starts the evening with flair, the conch meaty and tender, enhanced by celery, chorizo and smoked paprika. Oysters du jour are hearty and fresh, changing with the season, with two simple mignonettes for dipping. The heirloom baby beet salad is a wonder, whole beets sourced from a local farm, lovingly presented alongside a basil and fresh goat milk panna cotta.

A generous portion of New Zealand abalone tempura over an heirloom tomato risotto is head spinning, the abalone immaculately tender, while the risotto is deliciously light and rich.  Roast Spanish octopus is a fabulous counterpoint, mouthwatering and flavorful, in a beautiful jus de citron.

“Ris de veau” sweetbreads sautéed a la provencale with dates, apricot, and a fresh coriander sauce verte is spectacular, a plump burst of flavor with a crispy outer shell. A 2010 Littorai Savoy Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir from winemaker of the year Ted Lemon is a more than worthy complement. It blends seamlessly with the rack of Sonoma lamb in a French feta cheese pomme aligot.

Braised short rib with cipollini onions and cremini mushrooms served in a steaming pot is nothing short of a revelation. This is an exquisite signature dish, stewed in its own sumptuous juices.  A final course of Brittany sole Meniere with a polenta fontina is a triumphant, classic demonstration of tender delicate flavor.

Then it is Amelia Marneau’s turn to shine with a stunning series of desert courses.  A tarte of braeburn apple and crème d’amande and a fleur de sel caramel is wonderful, a glaze of tender sweet fruit that entices without overwhelming. Beignets with a butterscotch pot de crème transcends all concepts of delight, truly so lovely it is tempting to order more than one.

Starters and appetizers are a relatively reasonable $15 to $25, and most entrees run around $40. Appetizer portions tend toward smaller plates, while entrees are graciously ample, and sampling a variety of courses over the span of several hours is highly recommended. At Marche’ Moderne a great meal becomes a meaningful experience of culinary joy that cries out to be embraced, and ultimately revisited.

www.marchemoderne.net  

Joel Berliner is a travel writer based in Los Angeles


This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Joel Berliner

Joel Berliner is a travel writer based in Los Angeles who has written for The Washington Times, Dallas Morning News, New York Newsday, Chicago Tribune, Honolulu Advertiser, El Paso Times, and the Minneapolis Star Tribune, among many other publications.  He is excited to be back where his travel writing career began, at The Washington Times, where along with his wife, photographer extraordinaire Alison Reynolds, they will travel the globe in order to bring you The Good Life.

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