As July quickly approaches, San Diego culture focuses on one epic annual: the Del Mar Thoroughbred Racing Season. Carnies, pack your bags: July in Del Mar calls for a classier meet of surf and turf.
From wide-brimmed hats shading Del Mar-garitas to the sharp excitement of the finish line, the thrill of a trifecta win, 4’oclock Fridays, and the never-tiring pastime of celebrity spotting, Del Mar Thoroughbred Racing reintroduces classic chic to San Diego. But once the jazz of opening day fades into the Del Mar sunset, hunger emerges. It’s dinner time in Del Mar.
DiscoverSD.com’s quest for the best restaurant for post-track dining ends at Market Restaurant and Bar. Formerly Blackhorse Grille, Market is the optimal Del Mar dining destination for intimate dinners and large celebrations. Externally speaking, Market remains in the Blackhorse backdrop. Inside the large glass doors, however, Executive Chef Carl Shroeder (of Arterra at Del Mar Hyatt) and Managing Partner and Designer Terryl Gavre (of Café 222) have created a new environment of casual sophistication filled with dedicated patrons, understated décor, and fresh, fine cuisine.
Although the racetrack offers multiple tiers of concession, buffet, and sit-down dining, after a lucky win--or unfortunate loss--nothing is more rewarding than leaving the crowded tracks for calmer grounds. A few miles east of the scene, Market Bar and Grill sits beside the Polo Fields on the quiet cusp of Del Mar and Rancho Santa Fe.
Upon entrance, guests meet the bar lounge to the left, the red room lounge to the right, and the spacious dining room beyond. While dinner begins at 5:30pm, Market opens half an hour earlier for happy hour cocktails and conversation in the bar lounge.
In the casual bar setting, guests are invited to lounge at the light wood bar tables, seated on cushioned chairs in an autumn-toned geometric pattern. On lightly hued yellow walls, oversized portraits of fresh vegetables and cuisine designs serve as aesthetic catalysts for the evening. Our signature summer cocktail of choice: the Lemon Dum Dum, a youthful twist on the traditional Pineapple Gingersnap. This cocktail blends housemade jasmine ginger syrup, a splash of ginger ale, fresh lemon and lime, and house-infused pineapple vodka, served with a lemon Dum Dum lollipop.
After signature cocktails and fine wine absorb and stimulate, dinner is served.
Market features two distinct dining menus and respective rooms, catering to two crowds of clientele.
The red room is a long, narrow lounge featuring soft brown chairs with dark orange cushions, ivory-clothed tables, iridescent hanging sarowski crystals, and deep red curtains creating a dim light for intimate dining. Once an outdoor patio, the red room now offers an indoor patio experience, with ceiling heat lamps and retractable curtains that expose the exterior through a transparent wall covered by an awning. The red room lounge is perfect for comfortable elegance on a warm summer night.
The lounge menu is a remarkably affordable cuisine catalogue. Loungers can enjoy items ranging from Seared Yellowtail to Oysters on the Half Shell, Chopped New York Steak Salad, and Braised Prime Beef Shortribs--a great way to revitalize in good taste after a long day at the track. Market also plans to introduce sushi specialties to the lounge menu this summer.
Terryl Gavre’s design shines vibrant in the main dining room, where Market’s warmth and grace evokes the comfort of guests' own dream homes. This spacious stage radiates with deep orange walls, refined avocado green trim, and charming dangling mirrored spheres backing the bar. The deep chocolate brown leather folio chairs and dark wooden tabletops soften with ivory cloth spreads and subtle single flower garnishes.
In particular, heavy betters will enjoy the Snake River Kobe Flat Iron Steak, a true Japanese wagyu kobe beef NY strip with crispy hon shimejii mushrooms, haricot vert, and parmesean-bacon gratin. The steak is individually catered by the ounce.
Down the center of the dining room, Gavre features a 12-foot long wood tasting table reserved for multi-course tasting and wine pairing. This central station accommodates 12 guests with a unique tasting menu.
How to Taste:
Rancho Santa Fe Melon Salad, with shaved prosciutto, organic greens, and curry-mango vinaigrette. Paired with 2005 French Pierre Boniface Vin de Savoie.
Thai Chili Glazed Scottish Salmon, with marinated cabbage, curried carrot puree, and crispy shiitake spring roll. Paired with 2006 New Zealand Te Kairanga Pinot Noir.
Cabernet Braised Prime Beef Ribs, with sweet onion-potato puree, glazed cipollini onions, and vegetable roast. Paired with 2003 French Chateau Grand Bert Grand Cru.
Strawberry-Rrubarb Napolean, strawberry-rose sorbet and citrus-candied fennel salad. Paired with 2004 French Plaimont, Saint-Albert Pacherenc du Vic-Bilg.
For large parties and extended racetrack celebrations, Market Restaurant and Bar features all-new special events, hosted by Market Director, Marisa Callaghan.
From live music to a personalized wine and cuisine menu, Market is the ideal venue for your summer dinner party in San Diego.
“When you rent out Market, it’s yours for the night," Callaghan says. "We create an upscale dinner party atmosphere with absolutely no restrictions.”
As Shroeder’s ever-changing menu continually complements Gavre’s seasonal décor, Market Restaurant and Bar is the living answer to DiscoverSD’s quest for the top spot for post-track dining in San Diego. Contact Marisa Callaghan, Market Director of Special Events, for more information on reservations and events.