Restaurant Review: Main & Market, Neighborhood Restaurant Changes Names But Retains Appeal
Oct 24, 2017 12:00PM ● Published by Arden Haley
8 a.m.–8:30 p.m. Sun.–Thur.
8 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri.–Sat.
Major credit cards accepted
By Mary Lou Baker // Photography by Tony Lewis, Jr.
For the longest time, a restaurant nestled in an obscure little strip mall on Forest Drive enjoyed an increasingly stellar reputation. Its name was Main Ingredient, and its original owners called upon their experience with other successful establishments to hit a home run with their new venture from the beginning. Over the years, they branched out with a high-end catering business and in recent years have accumulated numerous awards for this side of their business.
Ownership changed and so, recently, did the name—from Main Ingredient to Main & Market. “The owners wanted to take a more sophisticated approach,” explained general manager Chrissie Rossetti. I continued the conversation, which included speaking with the café chef Andrew Myers.
Myers, a University of Delaware graduate, has worked at the restaurant over an eight-year period, with time off to attend the San Francisco Baking Institute. He’s happy to be back in Main & Market’s kitchen, serving as the café chef while executive chef Brett Cureton is responsible for the catering side of the business. Myers says he saw no need to change the dinner menu, a pleasing mix of soups, salads, small plates, entrees, and a variety of pasta dishes—among them pistachio farfalle, one of a few additions the chef has made to the bill of fare.
We agree—the menu hits the high notes of food fashion while catering to the comfort food crowd. We liked the variety of the imaginative small plates selection ($9–$15), which included a vegetarian-friendly hummus plate served with warm, house-made flatbread, fried green tomatoes, garlicky jumbo shrimp in white wine sauce, a crab avocado quesadilla, shrimp and grits, seared scallops paired with fresh asparagus, beef tenderloin pieces wrapped in Boston lettuce, and crab dip. Each of these appetizers was appealing but for sharing among the three of us, we opted for the crab dip. Presentation was pretty, the creamy crab in a white china dish with a thinly sliced baguette alongside. The portion was generous, unlike the ration of crab to cream cheese.
How could we not try an item on the menu described as “our famous Hungarian mushroom soup?” Rich and flavorful, it deserved its tagline. We also gave high marks to the chef’s French onion soup, which arrived hot and hearty under a cap of melted cheese. Both qualified as bona fide comfort foods and remain on the menu year-round despite seasonal changes based on availability.
Chef Myers depends on Diehl’s Produce to supply him with goods during the growing season and tries to buy all his ingredients locally. He uses vegetables as color accents as well as nutrition, plating a tasty entre of savory soft meatloaf with fresh corn kernels, broccolini, and slices of yellow squash on a square snow-white plate. The meatloaf, which I learned is a longtime menu favorite, is available topped with a choice of Hungarian mushroom soup, a ragout of mushrooms demi-glace or a marinara and mozzarella cheese sauce and a final frizzle of fried onion straws. My friend chose the soup option, much like a gravy—and ate half of her meal, taking the rest home for a next-day lunch. We lucked out with the Thursday dinner special—a thick slab of marbled prime rib cooked rare as ordered and served with garlic mashed potatoes and fresh green beans. It was also half-price wine night, so we split a Santa Julia Reserve Malbec ($34) from the list of five reds and seven whites—all from boutique vineyards.
Main and Market’s menu caters to appetites of various sizes as well as taste preferences. I did the same with my “Avery Island Pasta,” an entrée featuring al dente linguine tossed with chopped green onions, bacon, kernels of sweet corn in a tobacco-spiked cream sauce—the perfect foil for five beautiful seared dayboat scallops. Served with a Caesar salad, the entrée was generous enough for two (there is a $3 charge for split plates). In choosing from a selection of five pasta specialties, I over-rode the advice of the friend in our group. “I never order pasta in a restaurant—unless it’s in Italy,” she said. But I was happy with mine at Main & Market.
And we were all happy with our desserts, for which this restaurant is famous. “Eat Dessert First” urges a sign on the wall emblazoned with the crossed knife and fork that serves as Main and Market’s new branding. Our server, a smiling young woman who has worked here for several years, brought a dessert tray to our table and described the various sweets on board. We shared a moist bread pudding and a fine-crumbed coconut cake—both homemade under the direction of head baker Leila Wrye.
Portions here are generous. One of our review companions, a health-conscious consumer whose husband misses his mother’s cooking, remarked several times during the meal—“Stan and his brothers would love this place.” Judging from the traffic on the weeknight we visited, a lot of people love this place. Couples with children, date nighters, girls’ nighters, and a few solo diners were enjoying the special kind of hospitality that has made this restaurant a tried and true destination for Eastport residents and beyond.