Monday, September 13, 2010

Mercat a la Planxa

638 Michigan Ave., Chicago

The boyfriend and I had been here awhile back and liked it, and then when we were in Philadelphia in the Spring our friends took us to Amada, one of the chef's other restaurants, and we loved that, so we were excited to come back to Mercat. My mom was in town, and we'd gone to see The Weir (an amazing play which was done quite well by Seanachai Theatre Company) and we - as per usual! - looking for a place open past 10 on a weeknight, and Mercat was it.

Oh man. The food was phenomenal. Seriously, every single dish - and we got a lot of them - was impeccable. We had the pulpo con patatas, perfectly cooked octopus, oily and lemony and spicy and fabulous; we did the rice with morels and lemon, a rich, densely mushroomy risotto with a hint of truffle (Jose Garces is a fan of the truffles, and I love him for it); the braised rabbit agnolotti with brandied cherries (which rivaled the veal heart papardelle from Schwa in terms of quality - it was absolutely gorgeous); the pork belly with apple cider glaze and green apples oh wow, the sweet cider glaze and the wonderfully creamy yet firm pork belly; the flatbread with shortribs and greens and an intriguing hint of horseradish; some cheeses, a bottle of wine, oh, and the chocolate croquettes for dessert - we didn't think we had room for them but we managed, and it was so worth it.

I can't say enough about how pleased I was with the place. It's a lovely room with classy decor; while the tables are somewhat close together you don't feel cramped at all. The cocktail list is quite appetizing, the prices are high but not totally out of control, and the food. is. fantastic.

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