Gourmet Lunch at Bargain Price: $29 Special at Market

For many foodies, the highlight of the culinary year is Dine Out Vancouver, when the city’s top restaurants offer discount tasting menus.  The only problem: Dine Out lasts but two short weeks (2010’s event ran from April 26-May 6).

Which is why the ongoing lunch special at Market restaurant in the downtown’s Shangri-La hotel is so exceptional.  $29 buys you a three-course lunch, Monday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  It’s like a Dine Out promotion that never ends.

Now $29 may not sound exactly bargain-basement, but consider what you’re getting.  Market is the creation of chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, culinary genius behind the three-Michelin-starred Jean Georges in New York and a host of other acclaimed restaurants in capitals around the world.   The food at Market represents some of the finest on offer in Vancouver and has been justly praised by critics from the city and beyond.

Even more impressive:  Unlike with Dine Around – which limits your options to a few fixed menus – with this special you have free reign over Market’s entire glorious lunch menu.  Choose one appetizer, one entree and one dessert – whichever ones you like.

Fancy some tuna tartar followed by soy glazed short ribs and then a rhubarb and strawberry crisp?  How about warm asparagus salad, then some slow cooked arctic char and finally chocolate pudding with crystallized violets for dessert?  There are literally thousands of combinations to choose from on the menu, meaning you can go back to the restaurant again and again and never get bored (although you might put on a few pounds).

To sample the same dishes in a dinner setting could easily cost twice as much.  Best of all: The lunch promotion – while not exactly a secret – isn’t all that well known either.  It’s not mentioned on Market’s website and it seems like it has largely slipped under the foodie radar.

Any other fans of Market out there?  Any can’t-miss dishes on the menu? Please leave a comment below.

Remy Scalza

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