Fungus Among Us

Modmarket obsesses over mushrooms for new seasonal winter menu

Modmarket obsesses over mushrooms for new seasonal winter menu

Modmarket mushroom pizza
Modmarket has mushrooms on the brain and on its pizza. Photo courtesy of Modmarket
Modmarket soba noodles
Coconut citrus soba noodles. Photo courtesy of Modmarket
Modmarket salad
Mushroom pear salad. Photo courtesy of Modmarket
Modmarket mushroom pizza
Modmarket soba noodles
Modmarket salad

Colorado-based Modmarket, the latest healthy-dining entrant in the Dallas area, has introduced a seasonal winter menu that reveals a bit of a fixation on mushrooms. New menu items prominently feature both shiitake and crimini mushrooms as ingredients.

The mushrooms that Modmarket uses are a cut above the standard white button. A new pizza pairs seared wild mushrooms with Gorgonzola, red onion and wilted arugula on a crème fraîche base, in place of the usual tomato. And mushroom pear salad features shiitakes and criminis roasted with oil and seasoning, plus Bartlett pear, goat cheese and pecans.

Mushrooms offer lots of positives other than just tasting good, says chef Nate Weir.

"They're highly sustainable in that they grow in almost any setting," he says. "Seasonally delicious, mushrooms are packed with health benefits. Studies show shiitake mushrooms support our immune system, which is especially important in the winter. Shiitakes can also help prevent cardiovascular disease and are one of the best dietary non-animal sources of bioavailable iron, which is great for vegetarians."

Modmarket also dabbles for the first time in soba noodles, which form the base of a new dish: coconut citrus soba noodles. Soba noodles also have magical properties.

"Not only do they taste great and are good for you, but they're also an excellent choice this time of year," Weir says. "In Japan, they are traditionally eaten on New Year's Eve.

"Studies show we tend to eat more during cold months. As temperatures drop, many begin to crave foods higher in carbohydrates and fat, like pasta and baked goods. Light but satisfying, soba noodles are a good source of fiber and protein, and they can help fill you up and help you feel full longer. They also contain only about half the calories and fat of the same amount of regular white spaghetti noodles."

Well all right then. Soba it is.

The coconut citrus soba noodles have a light, nutty flavor and a great textural experience from the combination of the buckwheat soba noodles and coconut. Red cabbage, carrot, scallion, cilantro, mint, sesame and ginger add a light crunch, while the citrus vinaigrette keeps the dish bright.

Other items on the seasonal menu include a ciabatta sandwich and two warming soups. Red chicken melt is a spicy chicken salad sandwich that is lighter than traditional chicken salad. Smoky, spicy, vibrant Southwestern flavors come from a unique pepita pesto, aged white cheddar, tomato and mixed greens.

The two soups are vegetable-based. Tomato basil is a creamy tomato soup with onion, celery, garlic, basil, sea salt, black pepper, cream, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and Tabasco. This soup is gluten-free and vegetarian.

Cashew butternut soup contains butternut squash, onion, carrot, parsnips, celery, garlic, shallot, sage, sea salt, black pepper, lemon juice, bay leaf, parsley and tomato paste. It gets an extra-creamy texture from the use of pureed cashews, a popular ingredient with vegan cooks. This soup is gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan.

Modmarket has two branches open in the Dallas area Flower Mound and Plano with two more on the way. A spokeswoman says that the branch in Preston Hollow, at the northwest corner of Walnut Hill Lane and US 75, is set to open the first week of February, while Southlake will open in late April.

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