Carla Alexander of Soul Soup legend, along with Sal Di Maio (Red Star Pub, Halo Lounge) recently opened MRKT. The restaurant has been up and running for the past few months offering soup and sandwich combos during lunch hours but a few weeks ago MRKT opened for dinner. Let the angels sing.

There has been lots of online chatter about the interior: modern funky with a touch of retro-rumpus room, sleek yet cozy with the required techno thump muzak favoured by the young, but the surroundings are secondary because the food is the star here and if it came right down to it, I’d eat Carla’s food out of a shoebox in an alley.

So, without going way over the top…here’s the rundown:
Aside from the soups, salads and small plates, the menu features a regular entrée and usually one (or sometimes two) feature entrees nightly. We shared a few small plates.
Soups of the night: jerked chicken, and spicy lobster bisque. As you might expect, the soups are typical Alexander and by that I mean they were bowls full of magic. But…what I’m happy to report is that the rest of the menu is just as good.

We couldn’t pass up the homemade ricotta. The cheese, according to Ms. Alexander is relatively easy to make, the problem is the time involved but it is so worth it and I hope more restaurants will follow her lead.
Carla is a big supporter of local suppliers. A list of them can be found on the backside of the menu. The tomatoes (in the stacked tomato salad) come from Gull Valley Greenhouse near Blackfalds. The chutney is from The Jam Lady, steak is from Spring Creek Ranch, honey from Lola Canola , etc. I like that.

Prawns and blue cheese, unusual partners, work surprisingly well together especially when a sweet dressing is used as a mediator.
The Oysters Tartar was an interesting and flavourful dish. The smoky little morsels from Cortes Island are diced and mixed with bacon and scallions and served back in the can and served with crostinis. 
Desserts: a banana split served with locally made Pinocchio coconut ice cream and coffee rum sauce transported us back to the tropics, and I’m not sure how its possible to make a cake without flour, but the flourless chocolate cake topped with goat cheese/vanilla sauce gave the chocoholics at our table something to moan about. A glass of port with this beauty would be the perfect accompaniment.

MRKT is a blend of sophistication and simplicity and a welcomed addition to Jasper Avenue. Go for lunch Monday to Friday from 11am to 2 pm, and dinner Wednesday to Saturday 5 pm to 10 pm.  Located at 10542 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton, AB.

My CBC Edmonton AM restaurant review with host Ron Wilson can be heard here.

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