Calgary Eyeopener restaurant reviewer John Gilchrist stopped into Market this week.
"After a clunky start, I think it is just sailing now. It's open daily for lunch and dinner," he said.
Formerly the Yardhouse on 17th Avenue, Gilchrist says they have expertly redone the decor in a modern style.
"They did an amazing transformation on it building it into a bright white contemporary room with sleek white table and remarkably comfortable chairs which is an oddity it seems these days."
'After a clunky start, I think it is just sailing now.' - Restaurant reviewer John Gilchrist
"They've got a long black bar along one side. They've got an open kitchen at the back. It's very hip and of the moment — very 2013," says Gilchrist.
Gilchrist says the restaurant, owned by Vanessa Salopek, is an ambitious project.
"Most restaurateurs, they start out with something small and they build up in simpler operations but she went for the high end right from the beginning to challenge at the top end of local restaurants."
Short and sharp menu
"She brought in two chefs to design the menu and build the kitchen and open the restaurant, executive chefs from both Home and Rush," says Gilchrist.
But it didn't work out how they had expected.
"It was an interesting idea that just didn't work.... There were some very good things going on, you could see the potential but it just, it was pricey, it was slow. Things were just not happening how they should be, so one of the chefs left."
Gilchrist says it didn't take them long to turn it around once they were down to a single chef.
"You've got lots of local and here it's hyper-local ingredients, you know, that's where you do everything in house and in fact they have this large urban cultivator in the kitchen. It looks like a huge refrigerator but with windows and its actually a small greenhouse that grows all sorts of herbs and greens."
The menu is short and sharp says Gilchrist.
"It's eight appetizers, five main courses, supplemented by daily specials."
'Proficient and friendly'
"We started with a autumn tart. That's a flat bread made of flaky pastry dough topped with smoked Gouda, double smoked bacon ... absolutely fabulous flat bread. It was light, crisp, fresh," said Gilchrist.
"We had the burgers. The lamb one [was] thick and juicy. Maybe a little too thick, this was an immense burger and they do a Brant Lake Wagyu burger on the regular menu cooked medium rare, so they cook to temperature here, and they topped with more Gouda, tomato preserve, house-made pickles, loads of bacon ... every element well conceived, well executed, richly flavoured."
Despite apprehension about the desserts, Gilchrist was happily surprised.
"We had the gingerbread. Now this is chunks of dense molasses-laden cake, shards of sponge toffee, droppings of cream cheese ice cream all laid over a thick layer of caramel cream. Outstanding and big enough for two to share ... and at $10 I thought a bargain."
Gilchrist says the service was also excellent.
"Proficient and friendly, helping make Market a comfortable, fun place.... I think it rates a very solid nine out of 10."