Chef Marianne Stoll, formerly of Sisters Cafe in Spring Lake, is at the helm of a new restaurant after taking time off to raise twins. (The nerve.) Word on the street has been buzzing about her breakfast and lunch spot called Marigold Market and Cafe in Spring Lake Heights, which she opened in July 2017 with her sisters, Roxane O’Hearn and Kris Dier and brother-in-law, Jim Anderson.
I stopped by on a Tuesday at 1:30 PM and there was not a seat to be had. It was one of those crummy, rainy days but when I walked into the brightly lit and cheerfully painted restaurant, I forgot all about the soggy stuff going on outside. True to its name, the interior is painted the colors of a summer marigold with bright yellow walls, burnt orange accents and crisp floral window treatments. Photos of marigolds hang between the many windows. The day’s fresh pastries greet you from behind a glass partition on the bar. Loose teas, granola and local honey are for sale at the bar as well.
I spied a table by the window still waiting to be cleared and quickly called dibs to the hostess.
The creative menu intrigued me the first time I visited Marigold and is, quite frankly, why I went back. Grilled nectarines filled with Gorgonzola-and-fig jam and Warm Goat Cheese Dip with local honey, roasted tomatoes and bread crisps for starters? Not your typical appetizers. Truffle Parmesan fries are also offered as a starter, which made me laugh. It’s like: Hey, we know you’re going to order these fries so you might as well just do it. Why waste time?
My first Marigold experience included a grilled romaine salad with cucumber, tomato, roasted peppers, olives, almond crusted feta, hardboiled egg and Greek vinaigrette that I really enjoyed. This was gluten free, as are all salads and several other menu items.
On visit number two, I ordered the soup of the day, potato cauliflower. It may have been light in color (is white a color?), but the taste more than made up for it. Creamy but not too rich. Smooth and not too thick. It was salted just right and I savored it until the spoon couldn’t scrape another drop.
For my entrée, I decided on the pan-seared salmon served over quinoa and corn, with grilled asparagus and a mustard yogurt dill sauce—another gluten-free dish and oh so satisfying. The salmon was cooked to perfection: crispy on the outside but still moist and tender on the inside. I loved the use of quinoa and corn, which added a little more substance than just salmon over salad would have. The mustard vinaigrette was delicate, not too tart. All in all, a very nice dish.
On to those truffle fries. You knew this was coming. Crispy little shoestring potatoes tossed in truffle oil and Parmesan, they are all you would expect them to be, and even more addictive when you dip them in the roasted garlic aioli (highly recommended) that comes with the turkey breast sandwich.
Piled high with fresh roasted turkey and slathered with sundried tomato pesto, the real star of the turkey breast sandwich was the soft, tender, fresh mozzarella. And yes, it even stole the show from the applewood bacon and ciabatta roll.
Dessert is not on the menu. But they have it! Kelly, my server, ran down the choices for me: flourless chocolate cupcake with caramel frosting; carrot cake cupcake with maple cream cheese frosting; crumb cake with blueberry cream cheese filling; and the scone of the day, raspberry. All of Marigold’s pastries are made in house by Ginny Peterson, the pastry chef.
I chose the chocolate cupcake and the crumb cake. They were both modest in size. They’re not trying to supersize dessert in any way, so if you are thinking about sharing you might want to rethink it. For tea lovers, Marigold offers an iced tea of the day and a seasonal, hot, loose tea selection through California’s Art of Tea. Coffee enthusiasts have their choice of regular coffee, espresso, cappuccino and a variety of lattes.
If you’ve got the urge for a spot-on lunch you can’t go wrong at Marigold. You’ll have your choice of healthy options, decadent options and some highly creative options. And don’t forget the truffle fries.
Marigold Market and Cafe is located at 2003 Highway 71, Spring Lake Heights; 732-449-3242. Open for breakfast and lunch, Tuesday through Sunday.Click here to leave a comment