Before our last visit to Marble City Market, The Grub Spouse and I had worked — or eaten — our way through about half of the downtown food vendors. This last trip, during which we tested the food at Paysan Sandwich Shop and Gekko Poke & Ramen, brought us closer to the three-quarter mark. As usual, we each chose a restaurant to order from, and since I’m the big poke fan in the family, I happily volunteered for Gekko. The Bridegroom had no objection to queuing at Peasant.
Gekko offers appetizers like chicken gyoza, seaweed salad and vegetarian spring rolls as well as a few bowls of ramen. I enjoy a nice bowl of piping hot ramen as much as the next scout, but for this outing I was determined to stick to poke. Varieties of poke bowls include Grilled Eel, Spicy Tuna Ponzu, and Two Fish. I ordered the Spicy Salmon Bowl ($15), featuring the protein of the same name with lettuce, avocado, crabmeat and seaweed salad on a bed of sushi rice.
This vendor also serves several sushi taco creations. I had a spicy tuna taco ($6), passing the roast pork, shrimp tempura and salmon versions.
Nearby, The Spouse was browsing the menu at Paysan Sandwich Shop, brought to you by the team of chef-owners responsible for Knox Mason, Emilia and fellow MCM vendor, Fantail Fish and Frites. They bake their own breads (already popularized by Paysan Bread & Bagels), which then serve as the base for sandwiches like the Paysan Club, the Italian Sub, a fried bologna sandwich, and a portabella sandwich made with grilled Portabella mushrooms. with soy. . Spouse ordered the Cuban sandwich ($11), which was slow-roasted mojo pork, ham, Swiss cheese, mustard, and pickles on a hoagie roll.
Side dishes at Paysan include tater tots and fries. Spouse didn’t order a side at first so I went back for their house mashed potato salad ($3).
Before I get to the food rating, I want to touch on a few service-related notes. First, The Spouse had mentioned to me that the young man working the counter at Paysan was a bit frosty and barely spoke during their interaction. I got the same treatment when I went back for the potato salad. His attitude was off-putting and made our interaction uncomfortable. With only one other exception (last month), I have generally found the level of service among MCM vendors and custodial staff to be exemplary.
The other thing I wanted to point out is that we noticed several vendors had posted signs asking for tips to be given in cash. The employee serving me at Gekko said something like, “Tips charged to credit/debit cards do not go to employees. I honestly don’t know if that means the tips charged are pocketed as extra profit or if there is some other explanation. I recommend you ask the vendor you are frequenting on your next visit how their tips are paid and maybe take some cash so the tips are on the safe side.
Anyway, back to the food…
Kudos to Gekko Poke & Ramen for the Spicy Salmon Bowl. The fairly proportioned salmon was well prepared with spices and sauces, and the sliced avocado, shredded crab meat and accompanying seaweed salad worked harmoniously over the white rice. The tuna taco wasn’t as outstanding, but I thought it was a bargain for six bucks.
Paysan’s Cuban sandwich was quite good, from the meaty interior to the signature mustard and pickle. The fresh bread could almost pass for authentic Cuban. And I was very happy with the potato salad I went back for. Uniquely, this recipe is served hot, and it was unlike any other variety of potato salad I’ve tasted before. I would definitely recommend it.
In fact, I would recommend both of these restaurants to anyone wanting to sample Marble City Market food. Hopefully, your employee interaction history will be above the 0.500 mark we saw. But either way, you should be rewarded with tasty food.
Gekko Poke & Ramen – 4
Peasant Sandwich Shop – 4
Marble City Market
333 W. Depot Ave., Ste. 110
Full bar service
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays
Either of these food vendors would be a good place to start trying Marble City Market for the first time.