When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out — and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).
Restaurant: Modern Market
Location: 4821 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
Open: Two months
Eats: Healthy, dietary-restriction-friendly breakfast, lunch and dinner
Modern Market is the IKEA of restaurants. Clean and bright, with smart design and a great product, the place is, nevertheless, completely overwhelming.
Also, you’re probably only going to visit when you absolutely have to; say, when your new diet makes it tough to eat out without being obnoxious, or when a week of binge-eating pizza while binge-watching Netflix dictates that you must, without a doubt, introduce some vegetables to your system.
But, much like IKEA, once you’re inside you’ll wonder why you don’t come here more often. Despite the incredibly wordy menu — offering more choices than you knew food even came with — Modern Market actually makes it quite easy and even enjoyable to eat a healthful, balanced meal.
The fast-casual dining establishment began in Colorado (duh), and has – as everyone must, these days – plenty of “core values” and an important “origin story” to go with its mission.
Because we love you, we’ll condense it for you: The restaurant seeks to serve clean, scratch-made food at reasonable prices, and throws in enough seasonal options and house wine and beer to give it street cred. Even those of us not observing some kind of dietary restrictions (wait, are there any of us left?) can appreciate that.
The restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner, whole or half-portions of nearly everything, and “extras” for each dish, like adding protein or making an item gluten-free. Each menu option has a nutritional value breakdown underneath (the nutritional totals of your individual order will also be printed on your receipt, which feels strangely like getting test results), and items that are gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, or vegan are designated as such.
Non-dieters may be surprised, and even a little annoyed, frankly, to discover that the food itself is delicious. The Farmer Salad, a simple mixed greens salad with roasted chicken, seasonal fruit (ours were grapes), feta, roasted corn, and almonds was fantastic. The champagne vinaigrette added a sweet and spicy kick and, like all salad dressings at Modern Market, could be ordered “light, medium, or heavy.” This is a great place to bring that friend who drives you crazy by ordering something and then making 1,000 substitutions.
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Here, they eat that stuff up. Literally.
Modern Market in Scottsdale opened in late February, and will have two sister locations in metro Phoenix by September 2017. You can expect to see a lot of yogis fresh from Savasana, families taking advantage of the kids-eat-free-Sunday-and-Monday night deal, and loners who want to kick back with a book and a healthy meal in a bright, quiet place. The Scottsdale location is still working out the kinks (we drank house wine out of a pint glass on our visit, for example), but all signs point to a successful year for these kooky health nuts. They've already made good on their "seasonal" claim by rolling out the spring menu just one day after the Vernal Equinox ... who does that?
Like IKEA, you have to build your own product at Modern Market, and the instruction manual can be a little overwhelming, but the finished creation will make you feel pretty good about yourself.