The smells don't match the scenery at Market Café. With a modest exterior and a formica-tinged, art-deco theme on the inside, the venue seems like a traditional diner. Yet the aromas sneaking from the kitchen bely a more complex story—one of daily-made flatbread dough, pork burgers stuffed with cilantro, and sautéed tiger shrimp. These are but a few of the protagonists on a continental menu of made-from-scratch plates. The café's stress on in-house prep and signature touches—such as the loin-of-pork sandwich's housemade butter pickles—defies its unassuming design, offering what New York magazine calls "culinary salvation" from the area's standard eateries.
In addition to prioritizing housemade fare, Market Café caters to dietary restrictions. Its gluten-free menus draw from many mainstay listings for brunch, lunch, and dinner, and diners can also sub gluten-free noodles and buns into regular pasta or burger dishes. Much of the café's press homes in on its generous desserts—specifically the chocolate cake, a three-layered slice big enough to split between several people or act as a doorstop until someone gets hungry. The decadent confection pairs well with offerings from the fully stocked bar. Fresh blueberry purée and lime juice mix with gin in the blueberry gimlet, and the Dirty Goose—Grey Goose vodka, vermouth, and prosciutto-stuffed olives—preserves an avian motif that began with dinner's grilled quail served in a red-wine reduction.