Delft lights up Washington

Delft lights up Washington

Dain Holter

The old and angled marquee lights up the letters D-E-L-F-T in yellow and orange as you pass underneath, as they once did years ago. Before, the lights were a symbol of a night out to see a show. Now, the sign means dinner and a show.

The Delft Bistro is the newest restaurant in downtown Marquette, serving up a great variety of some unique modern American fare. Pass under the old theatre’s shimmering marquee to get an up-close-and-personal view of the open kitchen which sits at the front of the restaurant. It’s as if the kitchen is in its own little glass box for everyone to watch. The atmosphere inside the old theatre is open and welcoming and a movie screen covers an entire wall.

The wood accents around the restaurant give it that classy yet “rough around the edges” appearance. I was a bit confused with the overall theme; are they trying to be a gastro pub or a dinner theatre? I couldn’t tell.

The server kindly greeted us and led us to our table. Along the way, she gave us the choice to sit on either the first or second floor. You can’t see the kitchen from the second level and that was a dealbreaker for me; the choice was easy. Having the open kitchen at The Delft is certainly a draw, especially when it’s the only kitchen of its kind that I know of in the U.P.

The concept gives The Delft an opportunity to showcase sanitation and to physically show the steps it takes to turn fresh, high-quality ingredients into mouthwatering meals. Most chefs are proud of the delicious food they create and the open kitchen allows the perfect avenue for these chefs to showcase their beautiful food and exceptional skills.

For a newly-opened restaurant the beer, wine and cocktail menu is fair in size compared to most places in town. I went with the server’s recommendation from the signature cocktails, “The Double Fill Up” ($10), which has rye whisky, fresh lemon, simple syrup, pomegranate molasses and mint.

The cocktail was simple but very smooth. It was the perfect drink to sip on while I awaited my appetizer.

To start off the meal, I ordered the Octopus Appetizer ($16) which had a base of white bean cassoulet, then seared octopus, romesco, grilled ciabatta, arugula and lemon confit. In all the times I’ve tried octopus, it has never been as tender as they were able to achieve at The Delft.

It simply melts in your mouth, but I wish they would showcase the octopus more. It is supposed to be the main component of this dish and I feel the other flavors just compete with it. Overall it’s the most tender octopus I’ve ever had, but it didn’t have anything to bring the whole appetizer together. Each separate component of this dish was tasteful, but it wasn’t a cohesive plate.

For my entrée, I ordered “The Feature” ($14), which is The Delft’s signature burger. It comes with two beef patties, American cheese, house sweet pickles, caramelized onions, spinach and dijonnaise on a toasted brioche bun and served with house-cut Kennebec Fries. I opted to add bacon (+$2) and an egg (+$1) to my burger. Instead of your standard plate, they place your meal on a slice of a log, which is a cool touch.

I ordered my burger cooked medium. Shortly after its arrival and into the first bites it tasted pretty good, but the burger was clearly cooked well done. Getting past the overcooked burger, this was a well-composed dish. The cheese was melty, and the homemade pickles had the perfect contrast with the dijonnaise.

I thoroughly enjoyed the burger and the fries were the perfect, crispy side dish.

All in all, I had a good meal at The Delft.

The service was speedy and our waitress was polite. Their menu is concise and unique, but also spendy. They have a good idea here, but I feel when I’m paying this much for a meal, I expect an experience that truly wows me and The Delft Bistro left me searching for more.