74 State/Marché

Recently, J.Esq (of J&J) graced us with his presence, and his lovely parental units let me and my J join them for a celebratory lunch.

Can we start with the bad and end up happy with the good?

1.  Where the heck did I eat?  MarchéBistro/Bar?  Is one the upstairs and one the downstairs?  Why do both menus say Marché?  What kind of a name is Bistro/Bar?  Why is the name of your hotel the address?  It's almost as confusing at Capitol to Capital/iEatDC.

2. Why is the service so slow even when there aren't so many people there?  It took 45 minutes to order and get our lunch food, and that was sad for the one of us that had to leave early for a work call.

3.  Do you really mean to tell me that restaurants near Empire State Plaza don't know when 800+ people are going out to lunch with their families after the swearing in ceremony? 

4. We got a coupon for staying at the hotel that we were told over the phone we could use for our lunch reservation (made at the same time as the room), but it was really for dinner only, and we didn't receive the promised coupon until we asked for it several hours before check-out and at the lunch where we weren't supposed to be able to use it (more on this under GOOD).

Moving on to the things I liked about eating lunch upstairs at 74 State.  I loved that for lunch you can "pick 2" for $10, like you're at Panera or something (but much tastier selections in my opinion...sorry lovers of Panera [LS!!!]).  Half a sandwich/soup/salad, any combo of those.  This method is totally up my alley because I can have more than one thing without being a piglet.

I had half of a chicken sandwich with mozzarella, prosciutto, and arugula and the Market salad with pickled beets and pecans.  I'd do it again, quickly.  This meal costs less than a salad with chicken at Victory Cafe, but the feel of the place is more upscale, if that's what you're looking for.  Also, Victory's salads are enormous, but that's a different story.

J.Esq's salmon on salad was good, but the salmon was overcooked.  He had specified medium rare, but it was definitely cooked through and beyond.  The grapefruit in his salad was exciting.

The parental units had salads and the soup du jour, a vegetarian mushroom soup that was less vegetable-laden than we expected.  So many veggies were listed in the description, but the cup was mostly broth.  And the bleu cheese was extremely funky--I didn't want to taste it just from the look of it; unfortunately getting new dressing took so long that the naked salad was mostly eaten by the time we received it. 

Desserts were fun--we had a chocolate torte thing that was just okay, but the cheesecake situation you see up there was a good time.  Cinnamon quince, pumpkin, berry, chocolate mint.  It was fun to have a variety to taste.

In the end, we explained to someone who looked authoritative about how we were convinced over the phone to book a hotel reservation at 74 State along with the lunch reservation (originally the parents planned on staying elsewhere), and we'd get a coupon for lunch, etc, and he let us use the coupon anyway.  But we embarrassed the guys at the table who wanted to leave it all alone.  I'm with J.Esq's mom here, though--if you're promised something, and it's used as a selling device, you should get it.  That's good customer service.  Our server was super nice and seemed puzzled by the influx of people at 2pm.

So some good, some missteps, but overall a pretty reasonably-priced, tasty lunch at 74 State.

74 State Street (obviously)
Albany, NY

Marche on Urbanspoon


  1. Even if that salmon was overcooked, that salad looks delicious. I know what I'll be making this week!

  2. Upstairs is the Bistro/Bar section. So confusing. Get a little branding together there people. I had the same situation when we stopped by for dinner a couple years back.

    Stumbled upon the new blog through AOA. Welcome to the Cap Region. My boyfriend and I spend a good amount of time in DC and are always on the search for new spots. Looking forward to scouring the archives for some good recommendations!

  3. Thanks C. New stuff is opening in DC all the time--definitely check out the links on the left side of my blog for lots of active (still living in DC) folks, including Arugula Files, One Bite at a Time, Mango & Tomato, DC Wrapped Dates, Deepthroat's Guide, and WaPo and Young & Hungry.

  4. If all goes to plan, I should be spending about 36 hours in DC later in February.

    I think I will lobby for some good cheap Ethiopian food (any suggestions?).

    Anyhow, the thing that kills me about Marche is how they fail at what they are trying to achieve. Take that dessert platter for example.

    You can tell, that they are trying to make it beautiful. There is a clear plan. Rectangular pieces on the rectangular plate. Repetition and variation.

    Each piece has its own cute topping. Even the dice looks even. But some of the rectangular pieces are cracked and crumbling, which to me, brings the overall plate crashing down.

    It just feels like such a shame, because they know what to do, and just can't do it.