Saturday, June 21, 2014

Restaurant Review: Market Broiler

Market Broiler - lunch on June 8, 2014
There's a restaurant in my parents' hometown called Market Broiler. We used to go there occasionally when I was younger but then the restaurant changed locations and moved further south. It was farther away so we stopped going. Truthfully, when they left their old location, I thought they had closed permanently. I found out later they had just relocated. Looking back, I realized they've actually been open for years. I remember taking my nieces there when they could barely walk and even then the restaurant wasn't new so they had to have been opened for at least a couple of decades. No easy feat in the restaurant industry. They're a small chain of 6 restaurants, concentrated mostly in Southern California with the one outlier in the Bay Area which is the one we've been going to for years.
When you walk into Market Broiler, almost one of the first things you see is the display of fresh fish. While it's easy to assume that's what the kitchen dips into for the orders that come in, it's actually a "Fresh Fish Market" for people to shop from just like at any grocery store, Asian grocery store, farmers' market, etc. Yes, you can walk into this restaurant just to buy raw seafood. I've never actually ever seen anyone purchase from the Fresh Fish Market but it's always there so they must have customers for it. The only drawback of course if you do get that raw fishy smell when you walk in and walk past the display case. It's not overwhelming but for those delicate of nose, you may not care for it.
When we first started coming to Market Broiler, one of the big selling points was the loaf of crusty sourdough bread served warm. Similar to the bread basket at Cheesecake Factory or Outback, it's free, they serve it before you order and you can ask for as much as you want. I try to limit myself to one piece so as not to fill up before my entree arrives but it's good bread and the carb lover in me usually twitches for a second piece. I manage to restrain myself....most of the time.
My parents ordered the Shrimp Tempura Sushi appetizer. They said it was really good. My parents hardly ever get appetizers since they don't eat much and often don't even finish their entrees (they bring home a lot of doggie bags) but they finished off this appetizer in one go so it must've been delicious. I didn't partake since I'm not a sushi eater. Plus I'd take bread and pasta over rice any day (please don't revoke my Asian membership). I'd already had a piece of the crusty warm sourdough bread and I was planning on ordering a pasta dish so that seemed like enough carbs for one meal.
Shrimp Tempura Sushi appetizer
Linguini and Clams
The menu at Market Broiler offers good variety. Plenty of seafood of course but they also offer non-seafood entrees like steak, ribs and chicken. We're seafood lovers so we all got some sort of seafood.  My dad got the Rainbow Trout (I think that's what it was) and my mom opted for the Linguini and Clams while I got "Harvest of the Sea" which was essentially a fettucine alfredo with shrimp, scallops and lobster. Like anything with a cream sauce, it was completely rich and decadent. I only ate a small portion and saved the rest for a future meal. But I don't really deserve props for portion control because you know I only did it to save room for dessert.
Harvest of the Sea Pasta
The only jarring note in both my mom's and my order was the garlic cheese bread our entrees came with was terrible. The bread was oversaturated with butter, to the point that although the bread was toasted, so much butter had soaked into it that it was tough and too chewy. The butter also ran into the pasta sauce and looked like oil. So maybe it wasn't butter but...something else. Either way I only managed a couple of bites before I gave up. I normally am very forgiving about bread but this wasn't edible or worth the calories.
Rainbow Trout....I think
Fortunately we ended on a good note with dessert in the form of a brownie "sundae". Although this breaks my cardinal rule of not having nuts inside of desserts, the brownie was served warm with chocolate and caramel sauces, was nicely chocolaty and paired well with the vanilla ice cream so I was forgiving. I'm lenient like that. This is something I could easily make at home so my parents always wonder why I "need" to get dessert but we were there, I was treating them out to lunch and I don't feel like it's a restaurant review if I don't have dessert and commentary about it. So there you go.
Brownie Sundae

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