Restaurant: Marche Modern
Location: 7862 Pacific Coast Hwy, Newport Beach, CA 92657. (714) 434-7900
Date: May 16, 2019
Cuisine: Modern French
Rating: Great food and service
This particular reunion of the Foodie Club: OC Edition has been in the making for months. Fred was buying up old Coche, Roulot, and Leroy for us in anticipation.
Due to group constraints, we had to meet deep in the OC at 6:15 — but before that, we caught a late, HUGE, amazing wine lunch at the LSXO — even my hollow leg was full before we got started on dinner.
Because we were down in the OC for hours and hours I packed my gelato cooler full of dry ice, worried that my normal cooling packs wouldn’t keep it cold enough. Boy did the dry ice keep it cold enough — so much that it was like a block of diamond ice at the end of the evening!
For our super duper elite Foodie Club OC dinner, we selected Marche Moderne — pretty much because it’s one of the best wine friendly restaurants in Orange County (which is a bit of a limited pool).
It’s high end modern French bistro.
Attractive modern decor.
Lots of sunset light.
And our perfect corner table.
Bread to start.
We had four epic bottles we were all sharing, all mature super producer White Burgundy. We pretty much opened all four at the start and drank them through the night. These were crazy good wines!
1986 Domaine Roulot Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrières. Fred writes: A beautiful medium gold color similar to the 86 Coche CC to indicate this was indeed a properly stored bottle. Again, the 86 botrytis is apparent. On the palate the fruit is rich and ripe and there is incredible length and power. The wine continues to improve over the next 3 hours picking up more acidity and precision. A rare rare treat and I doubt I will see this beautiful wine ever again.
1989 Coche-Dury Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrières. Fred writes: Wow from beginning to finish. This started off with the classic Coche aroma of flint that was less prominent on the 86 CC. On initial sip it was perfect in every way: the fruit, the acid, the precision. Everything was perfectly integrated, extremely elegant, and nuanced. A wine that makes you vow not to open any more Coche MP prior to its 30th birthday (knowing that you will fail miserably and happily). The greatness of it is only highlighted by drinking it next to other great wines. Not much else to say except that it’s a 100 point wine if there ever was one.
First course was an uni parfait with I think tomato jelly underneath. The whole menu was designed by Fred (and the chef) to perfectly pair with our epic whites.
Next up real caviar with blini and a version of the traditional accompaniments suspended in a vanilla lemon foam. Quite awesome, actually.
Here you can see the below foam strata a bit better.
1986 Coche-Dury Corton-Charlemagne. Fred writes: The honey and botrytis of 86 was apparent as was with the 86 Roulot MP. There is that long elegant floral finish that you get with Coche Corton Charlemagne. Initially a little behind the 89 Coche MP due to the weight and slight lack of acidity and focus. However, over the next 3 hours it continued to improve becoming more refined and elegant with each repour. By the end of the night, it was as good and maybe even better than the 89. Hard to say as both wines were flawless tonight and showcasing their vintage and vineyard perfectly.
1996 Domaine Leroy Corton-Charlemagne. Fred writes: This is a powerful Corton Charlemagne. The 96 acidity is very prominent. There is not as much fruit or depth as the 04 that we had a few months ago. However the oak on this was far more integrated and not noticeable. There is a fine mineral streak through this great wine. On any other night this has a shot at WOTN. Tonight it lacked the complexity and nuances of the Coche and even the Roulot. Still, a great drink.
Lightly poached or raw salmon with baby asparagus and beurre blanc. Another lovely dish.
Fried soft-shell crab with ginger. In season too. This was a good bit of food and we finished a massive lunch just an hour or so before this dinner!
Scallops with saffron, artichoke heart, and puff pastry.
Lobster with risotto. Awesome courses, but not light — I would have been full without the huge lunch!
Turbot with some kind of broth. Feeling really full!
Tarte Aux Fraises – Strawberry Tart Harry’s Berries Strawberries – Crème d’amande. Strawberry Compote – Crème Fraiche Chantilly – Lemon Confit Gelato. Really lovely intense berry flavor and nice textural interplay. Harry’s Berries are fabulous when in season.
Fondant Au Chocolat Amer 64%. Apricot Stracciatella Gelato – Cashew Praline Crème Monté. Bring the wafer thin mint!
Plus, I had 4 flavors of gelato! Yeah, 4. But they were so frozen rock solid by the dry ice that I couldn’t even chip into them. They were still rock solid when I got home hours later and had to “thaw” in the freezer. But will return for tomorrow night’s Fred dinner.
Overall, an incredibly epic meal.
Service was first class. We did the wine service though, which is how we wanted it with these wines. Which, by the way were all four incredible. Fantastic and very lucky that we had no flaws. Probably the 89 Coche MP was the “best” — but all 4 were amazing. Legendary wines and we may never see their like again.
Food was amazing too. Certainly the best non-Asian I’ve had in Orange County. Very good by any standards. And our custom meal was stunning. TONS of food too — it would have been a lot even if I arrived starved, and I’m a big eater — but after being stuffed at LSXO an hour or two before, it was a serious struggle to find the room. I mean, I pretty much finished every plate — that’s what I do — but I was in some serious overstuffed discomfort! Ah, first world problems.
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