I have seen the future of dining....and it is good
I recently dined at a very unique, sort-of sophisticated, kind-of upscale, totally modern yet still nostalgic, restaurant by the name of Saint Marc Pub. It is so difficult to put a label on this place because it can be whatever you want or need it to be. It is like Harry Potter’s Room of Requirement in that the experience is completely reliant on your needs. You want to drink beer out of ceramic Solo cups and have a BLT? Awesome, they can totally do that. You would prefer to drink 90 point wines out of Riedel and sample a few of the more than 130 cheeses available? Check. It is like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure for the culinary set.
I have worked in restaurants for 24 years, and am not often surprised by them, but this experience threw me a wonderful curve ball. You have choices, people! You can have an ambassador think waitstaff help plan your meal, offer suggestions, etc., or you can go totally rogue. You have an iPad at your table with which to order any little thing your heart desires... they have everything-seriously, everything. Sashimi served alongside a hot rock to sear it upon, homemade potato chips and French onion dip, freaking deviled eggs. Everything that I tasted was amazing. How do you have so many different types of cuisine, and how do you make each of them an exercise in perfection? I do not know. I do not run this place, but I am so happy to have enjoyed the fruits of their labor. Lemony smashed avocado on toast!! Bacon Bar—11 types of bacon! You dropped your napkin? Just hit the screen where the napkin icon is! I felt like I was on the Jetsons, but with much better food. The food of the Jetsons had to be all pimiento loaf and gelatined meats, c’mon, it was drawn in the 60s. I am digressing. Point: I love this place and cannot wait to go back.
I haven’t even touched on the decor. Open and inviting. It really is four restaurants in one. You have a cute little cafe for breakfast and coffee. You have the doggie-friendly outdoor patio for a cute little ladies who lunch type vibe, you have the actual bar where they have...wait for it.... boutique wines on draft, by the keg. What? I think this is the only place that actually has like ZD Chardonnay on draft. You can literally buy a growler of your fave and take it with! They have a walk-up window for you beach bums that don’t want to stop working on that tan. There is inside dining where you can have a complete five-star experience! You can be as snooty as you want, just don’t expect them to be.
I could list the Chef, CEO, general manager and countless other luminaries that make Saint Marc amazing. Their pedigrees are truly impressive, but that is not the vibe they are presenting. They aren’t trying to make you know their names, they are trying to give you an incredible experience, completely unlike any other. They are going to surprise you with their awesomeness. The food, the atmosphere, everything is so well thought out with your comfort in mind. They are not telling you how to dine, they are giving you an environment where you can dine in the best way you know how. You can try new things....or not. It’s not up to them, they are leaving it up to you.
Saint Marc Pub-Café, Bakery & Cheese Affinage
Pacific City Marketplace
Huntington Beach, CA