Day of the Week: Friday, 1/9
Total Bill: $200 (estimate, before tip)
Breakdown: 2 starters, 1 meat & cheese plate, 4 entrées, 2 desserts, 2 cocktails, 1 coffee
Pros: Organic, farm-to-table, beautiful ambiance, great cocktail program
Verdict: Wish it was in Tampa.
We had to go down to Ft. Lauderdale for Maple Bacon Coffee Porter Day at Funky Buddha on January 10th. (Well, I guess we didn’t HAVE to, but we wanted to.) We wanted to have a nice dinner when we got into town the night before. Market 17 was fairly close to our hotel and we’d had our eye on it for a while.
We originally had a 10 PM reservation but we were ahead of schedule getting into town so we got there at 8:30 and were seated right away. We couldn’t tell from the website how fancy the place was and it is actually VERY nice. Very upscale and modern with a large patio for outside seating and a fancy water feature. Market 17 also has a special dining room for “dining in the dark,” where you eat in complete darkness. (Hubby said he’d try it – I might need a little more convincing…)
The Market 17 menu changes daily. Because we were there so late, I witnessed the host removing the day’s menu from every single menu so they could replace it the next day. They don’t kid. They list all of their suppliers on the menu. A really great feature of Market 17 is that they offer “tasting” portions of their entrées so that you can try different things and not have to commit to a single entrée.
I started with a M-17 (“Local Honey Infused Bourbon, Port Marinated Amarini Cherries, Ginger Beer & Orange Peel ,” $13) and I was really impressed. Smooth and mild, thanks to the ginger beer. Hubby started with the Pineapple Hot Pepper Rita (“Chili Infused Blanco Tequila, Agave Nectar, Fresh
Pineapple & Lime Juice, Habanero Hellfire Shrub, Chili Pepper Rim,” $12), also really fantastic and I don’t even like tequila that much. After his Rita he had the Summer Alliteration (“Pink Peppercorn Infused Pisco, Passion Fruit Nectar, Pineapple Tarragon Shrub, Pavan, Pernod ,” $13), which I would’ve gotten too if I wasn’t so tired and we hadn’t had to have been at the brewery by 8 AM the next day, ready to drink. This would be a great place to drink for hours.
On to dinner!
– Market ceviche (“Florida Shrimp, Wahoo, Cobia, Avocado, Cucumber, Radish, Chives, Shallots, Pineapple, Jalapeño & White Soy Marinade, Crispy Yucca Chips,” $15). Really fresh and lively. A lot of times the ceviche you get in a restaurant has been sitting too long and the fish is rubbery. Not the case here at all. I’m not a huge ceviche fan but this was awesome.
– Market Croque Madame (“Quail Egg, Bruleed Cheddar on Sunflower Bread, Housemade Brown Sugar Ham, Pea Tendrils,” $12). The quail egg really made this dish for me. One of the best croque madame I’ve ever had.
– Meat & cheese plate with three cheeses and three meats ($15). They cure their own meat (wow). We had the coppa, culatello, and fiocco, all of which were amazing but the culatello was my favorite. The cheeses were Asher blue (the hardest blue either of us had ever seen and very delicious), Taleggio Il Caravaggio (very soft), and a third that I don’t recall and isn’t on the menu anymore but that I can assure you was delicious. Accompanied by all kinds of homemade stuff (pickled caper berries, pickled cranberries, bread, etc.). Really great spread.
– Rare seared Florida wahoo ($18 for a tasting portion, $34 for a full portion). It came with coconut basmati rice and some veggies. Very good. You could tell how fresh the fish was.
– Grilled local cobia (“Creamy Garbanzo & House Tasso Ham Cassoulet, Shallots, Rainbow Carrot, Celery, Greens, Escabeche Sauce,” $19/$35). I think this was my favorite entrée. I loved the cassoulet.
– Grilled antelope loin ($24/$44). Prepared very well. I hadn’t had antelope loin before. Very similar to steak but leaner.
– Whole Key West shrimp (“Cheddar Grits, Housemade Bacon, Green Beans, Grape Tomatoes, Pea Tendrils, Sherry Vinaigrette,” $17/$31). I didn’t really try this but Hubby loved it. Yes, the shrimp come with heads.
– A seasonal pumpkin cake with egg nog whipped cream. I wasn’t overly impressed with the cake (a little dry) but the egg nog whipped cream was great.
– Hubby had chocolate chip cookies and milk and reports they were amazing.
I wish we were going back soon because on the menu now they have “SEASONAL FRUIT POUND CAKE: Lavender Ice Cream, Warm Fresh Fruit Compote, Whipped Honey,” and that looks really amazing.
Throughout it all, our server (whose name I cannot remember for the life of me) took great care of us. I was so surprised when he said it was his first night on his own! He was a total pro.
Bottom line, we would love to go back. A lot of organic, farm-to-table restaurants are, um, rustic. Which is fine! Great, even. But it’s really nice to have an organic, farm-to-table option that’s also very upscale. The service was the icing on the cake.