Jean-Georges’ “Market” In The New Shangri-La

My friend Owen and I went in for a first pass to the highly anticipated Market in the new Shangri-La hotel last night. They’d only just opened for their first public service after back to back “friends and family” test runs, but it filled up fast (they had 80 in the book, and were accepting plenty of walk-ins). We found many familiar faces from West, Le Crocodile, and Feenie’s/Lumiere working the room and kitchen. Of course, former Chambar manager Paul Grunberg (interview) was there, too, and ex-Boneta bartender JT was rocking the drinks (as you can see above). Jean-Georges Vongerichten himself was also in full effect, and was gracious enough to walk me through his restaurant’s first hours.

In our discussions it quickly became clear how genuinely excited he was about working with local boy executive chef David Foot, and very enthusiastic about the ingredients that the coast was bringing to his kitchen. His passion for the project was evident by way of non-stop gesticulation, and those among his staff that I spoke to were just as bubbly (not only about serving their first guests but also about working for an international legend like Jean-Georges).

  • street signage
  • hostess stand
  • lounge
  • lounge
  • lounge
  • bar detail
  • Market by Jean-Georges Vongerichten
  • Bar pow wow
  • The bar
  • raw bar
  • The raw bar
  • Owen at the bar
  • JT
  • champers and manhattan
  • prawn, bacon, avo
  • IMG_5093
  • IMG_5089
  • A JT gin-citrus cocktail
  • Urquel
  • the dining room
  • The dining room at Market

I’d met Jean-Georges only briefly before at a party a couple of months back. I’d never tasted his food or been inside any of his many far-flung properties. Accordingly, I went in with seriously empty slate expectations. Designers H. Jay Brooks and Cynthia Penner of Box Interiors (whose previous credits include Whistler’s sexy Adara Hotel and local restaurant lookers like Trattoria Italian Kitchen and Watermark) did a fine job of breaking Market up into four distinct zones: a cafe, sizeable raw bar and lounge, a sleekly formal restaurant, and an expansive patio). I really loved the lounge. The acoustics seemed to tolerate the mix of music, voices, and myriad hard surfaces everywhere, and the lighting was soft and gentle. We sat, dined, and mingled here for the duration, so I’m looking forward to test driving the dining room proper in the coming weeks.

On the food front, the butternut squash soup and the black truffle and fontina pizza were definite standouts, but truly every dish I tried was of a very high calibre: very clean and exquisitely balanced flavours with expressive presentations. Pure Vongerichten, from what I’ve heard.

I think I was pleased most by the price points. Expecting menus priced in the stratosphere, I found them in Earls territory instead: roughly $12-28, with a $65 multi-courser set piece that screamed come hither. It’s not often that you come away from a top tier dining experience for two (with beers and cocktails) and end up spending less that $100. I’d be interested in knowing if that was always part of the plan, or whether they considered the economic downturn and retooled to fit the times…

For more photos, our friend Rhonda May over at City Food was in just prior to the opening yesterday and took plenty of lovely ones. Check them out…

There are 3 comments

  1. Lisa and I got to eat at JpJp in NYC 1996, when the man only had 2 restaurants It was very memorable, looking forward to seeing and tasting what he has to offer in Vancouver. How lucky, the world keeps coming to us.

Opening Soon

Chefs Lee Cooper & Jack Chen To Launch New Seafood Eatery in the Heart of Gastown

Industry veterans pick up the 4,100 sqft Secret Location space in Gastown and lay out their plans for "Coquille".

Opening Soon

First Sips at the 1950’s Los Angeles-Themed ‘Foxtrot Tango Whisky’ Cocktail Bar

Downtown Victoria lands a gorgeous 40 seater dedicated to the art of the cocktail (and we wish it was in Vancouver)

Opening Soon

Scenes from the Newly Launched ‘Tacofino Oasis’ in the Financial District

Take a look inside the drool-worthy fourth Vancouver location of Tacofino (dubbed "Tacofino Oasis")

Two Rivers Meats to Open ‘The Shop’ Eatery Alongside New Butcher Shop & Deli

Legendary supplier of ethical, sustainable meats to join the restaurant trade with North Van expansion.