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Kern Place Market (Closed)
2609 N. Mesa St.
El Paso, TX

Cost: $$$ 22 American & Italian Smoking: No Smoking Best Item: Firenze Panini
Firenze Panini:
Penne Pasta with Asparagus:
House Salad:
11-Oct-05 10+
One of a handful of "fine dining" restaurants in El Paso, I think Kern Place Market lives up to its billing. I have been going since it was a small neighborhood hangout near UTEP serving gourmet sandwiches, and the food was as solidly good then as it is now in the new "upscale" restaurant.

My favorite has always been the Firenze Panini, a wonderful blend of spinach, artichoke hearts, basil, sundried tomatoes, roasted peppers and provolone on grilled focaccia, but found only on the lunch menu. I have included the entire description of it from the menu since if you try this, you may not want anything else. A restaurant deserves great respect when a vegetarian item can taste as good as the meat dishes do at most other places.

The dinner menu has a number of items worth trying--it always seems to be expanding as well as changing. Like several other El Paso restaurants, though, the dinner menu strikes me as being too expensive and with portion sizes that seem to be way out of scale with what I consider to be "fine dining" (and healthy dining).

I tried a Penne Pasta dish to see what one of the vegeterian dinner items would be like, and as I expected, it came with enough pasta to take half of it home as leftovers (the same problem I have at JB's Cafe). The sauce, though, was delicious, with enough lemon flavor to give it a complexity worthy of a "fine dining" restaurant. I supposed a person cannot complain too loudly about leftovers that taste this good.

The House Salad, with a raspberry vinaigrette dressing, was the best example of a mixed green salad I've had in a long time, and another definite "thumbs up" item.

I don't see how anyone could have room for dessert, although I'm sure the desserts are good as is the rest of the food.

With its new digs including an upscale bar, patio, and restaurant decor, the prices have risen to the point that I have to limit my visits. In spite of the prices and the portion sizes, I would still have to say it is one of the best restaurants in El Paso. A recent El Paso Times review had the wrong address--Kern Place Market is located in the 2600 block of Mesa in the Kern Place business and entertainment district. Parking is sometimes limited, but once you get to the Kern Place entertainment district there are quite a few other attractions within walking distance.

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