New restaurants have been popping up in Orange County’s South Coast Plaza like mad recently. And they haven’t been typical food court fare either. After the introduction of a Charlie Palmer restaurant and Anqi by Crustacean, an upscale Asian Lounge, a French bistro was inevitable to round things out.
Enter Marche Moderne. Marche Moderne is located in the “Penthouse” of South Coast Plaza, appropriately keeping company with the new Louboutin boutique. It has the look, feel and size of a toney French Bistro – but both the food and the décor have an American twist. Wood paneling, small, intimate booths and tables, white tablecloths and the favored black napkin option for those not wanting to risk white linen marks on their black suits and dresses (why every restaurant doesn’t have this option is baffling).
The wine list is impressive, having a good selection of French and California wines and also well chosen Austrian, Spanish, Italian, German and Washington wines.
The best way to try Marche Moderne for lunch is to order the “Spontane” – a three course menu for $20. The menu changes regularly to offer what is in season and freshest at the moment.
A spring salad composed of spring lettuces, watermelon, red onions, finely crumbled feta and crispy fried wisps of shallots starts you off imparting the taste experience of the essence of spring combined with the essence of summer with the promise of summer.
For the entrée a choice of scallops of duck confit is offered.
The scallops are seared to a light crisp on the outside, melt in your mouth buttery soft on the inside. They nestle on a bed of couscous alongside a tomato and arugula salad. The Albarino on the by-the-glass wine list is a choice accompaniment.
Dessert is a light, creamy tort punctuated by a sprinkling of raspberries, a drizzle of chocolate and a café au lait gelato that will seduce the most stringent coffee hater.
The portions for the Spontane are very French, so while you won’t be taking anything home, you can enjoy all three courses with ease.