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Market Table

Address: 54 Carmine St., at Bedford St.

Phone: (212)255-2100
Cuisine:  Seasonal American
Vibe: Quintessential neighborhood spot & grocery
Occasion: Casual date, neighborhood dinner
Hours: Dinner, Mon-Sat, 5:30p.m.-12a.m.  Closed Sundays
Don’t Miss Dish: Gnocchi with short ribs; Pan roasted chicken.
Drink Specialty: Rotating wine selection.
Price: Appetizers, $9-$12; Entrees, $17-$29; Desserts, $5-$9.
Reservations: Reservations recommended

Not just another trip to the market… Shop for groceries and you’ll be tempted to stay for dinner at Market Table.

What looks more like a corner grocery store is quickly becoming one
of the most sought-after tables in town. The only entrance to Market
Table’s dining room is by way of an adjoining grocery shop, a makeshift
preview of what’s on the menu. Think general store meets butcher shop,
where customers can purchase anything from exotic dried fruits to
burger patties.

Yes, this is yet another market-restaurant shtick. But while it’s
unlikely you’ll spot diners exiting the Ritz’s BLT Market with simple
syrup for the road, the notion of taking herb-flecked gnocchi, made
fresh daily, is a functioning and alluring concept here – especially if
you taste the finished product in the dining room.

Chef Mike Price
plunges these soft nibbles in an exceedingly tasty Parmesan broth laden
with short ribs and nutty escarole. You’ll get the same thick and
superior cut of meat whether you buy it to go or order it from the
menu. But I strongly recommend the latter: You’d be hard pressed to
achieve as beautiful a char from a strip steak as he does. That’s
because Price dexterously plays the roles of the butcher, the baker and
the chef.

But Market Table is a three-man show, as Price shares the stage, and ownership, with Joey Campanaro and Gabriel Stulman (both of Little Owl fame). In the dining room, Stulman is the veritable Sirio Maccioni (Le Cirque) of a new dining generation – one that thrives on the informal, hospitality-driven eatery.

He guides you to a butcher-block table in an elemental setting,
outfitted with a cherrywood bar and floor-to-ceiling windows that look
onto the West Village. There are the warm charms of votive candles,
utensils dispensed from antique file drawers, and a congenial buzz
bouncing off glossy brick walls.

Another draw is polished fare with the perfect measure of Seasonal
American edge and grounded simplicity that brings out the superiority
of the individual ingredients.

Golf-ball-size hush puppies are fluffy enough to indulge in one too
many, savory enough to pair with its sweet honey butter. Instead of the
usual smear of cream cheese, salmon gravlax is ingeniously paired with
a deconstructed egg salad, consisting of egg, radicchio, parsley and
red wine vinaigrette.

Creative and tremendously flavored dishes streak the menu: moist,
meaty crab cakes are dabbed with a tomato-caper aioli and tucked into a
plush, homemade bun; an expertly crisped roast chicken lounges on
sweet-potato salad; and a scene-stealing side of vibrant wild
cauliflowers – purple, green and orange – is finely seasoned with
garlic, capers and breadcrumbs.

At Market Table, you’ll seldom incur a full-fledged disappointment.
An overly rich lamb shank should’ve been lifted by a lighter complement
than an overly robust Gouda gratin. And a seafood pan roast – a fresh
stock of shrimp, scallops and clams – would’ve benefited from a tangy
punch. Chocolate banana bread pudding might’ve warranted more attention
had it arrived warmer and moister.

Still, missteps are scarce among a handsome selection of dishes.
Market Table seems to have inherited a bit of that Little Owl magic,
apparent from the high demand for prime-time reservations in an
unassuming neighborhood spot that feeds the people what they want –
honest, sure-footed cooking with knockout ingredients that move from
Price’s market directly to your table.

Moist, meaty crab
cakes are dabbed with a tomato-caper aioli and tucked into a plush,
homemade bun; an expertly crisped roast chicken lounges on sweet-potato
salad; and a scene-stealing side of vibrant wild cauliflowers – purple,
green and orange – is finely seasoned with garlic, capers and
breadcrumbs.

At Market Table, you’ll seldom incur a
full-fledged disappointment. An overly rich lamb shank should’ve been
lifted by a lighter complement than an overly robust Gouda gratin. And
a seafood pan roast – a fresh stock of shrimp, scallops and clams –
would’ve benefited from a tangy punch. Chocolate banana bread pudding
might’ve warranted more attention had it arrived warmer and moister.

Still,
missteps are scarce among a handsome selection of dishes. Market Table
seems to have inherited a bit of that Little Owl magic, apparent from
the high demand for prime-time reservations in an unassuming
neighborhood spot that feeds the people what they want – honest,
sure-footed cooking with knockout ingredients that move from Price’s
market directly to your table.

Until we eat again,
Restaurant Girl
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