January 29, 2012
- Food: Catalan
- Decor: Gorgeous, modern, elegant
- Service: Perfect
- Cost: $$$$
- Wine / Cocktails: Great
This was one of my top dinner experiences of my life. For sure.
My boyfriend and I had early reservations at Mercat before a show, I'd never been there before, but was looking forward to it based on word of mouth. My boyfriend managed there years ago, and from his description, I knew it would be great. We didn't know where to even start, the menu is incredible, so the Chef de Cuisine, Cory, decided to send things out to our table after we chose some must-haves. We ordered a great bottle of red from the Ribera del Duero and ended up eating several dishes over a perfectly paced two hours including:
Barrimundi con Chorizo y Bacalao (chorizo "skin" barrimundi with sunchoke brandade, smoke pine nuts, vizcaina froth)
*Tocino con Cidra (slow cooked Holland pork belly, cider glaze, Granny Smith Apple - Black Truffle slaw- INCREDIBLE) A favorite.
Guatla Anec Uvas Y Polenta (Hickory smoked Quail, roasted grape glaze, goat cheese polenta croquettes, and braised escarole)
*Pelotas de Calabaza y Cordero (butternut squash dumplings, lamb ragout, beech mushroom escabeche, black truffle) A favorite.
*Conill amb Castanyes (braised rabbit agnolotti, roasted chestnut puree, brandied cherries, rosemary browned butter) A favorite.
Patatas al la Riojana (heirloom baby potatoes with cider braised chorizo, manchego espuma, and pimente d'espelette)
*Sopa de Nabos (truffled turnip soup with foie gras tourchon, jamon de pato, and poached fig) Again, a favorite. A different taste in every spoonfull!
Cordero Lechal en Curry (smoked suckling lamb in Catalan red curry with garbanzos, broccolini, and grilled flatbread)
Gratin de Escalivada (oven baked roasted red peppers, tomato, eggplant and chipolini onions with goat cheese and grilled sourdough)
Dinner was finished with a perfect horchata truffle.
The food was spectacular on every level. Presentation was gorgeous, flavors were outstanding and harmonious, service was wonderful, and the space is gorgeous. All of these things really impressed me, but it was the intangibles of Mercat that really make me want to go back. Everything together just worked to provide the most perfect evening. Chef Cory is obviously passionate about his food and flavors; he truly loves what he does. He was more than gracious when explaining his inspiration and ideas behind each plate. The night could not have been more perfect!
**UPDATE** My boyfriend is now my fiance and we had some of the best meals in Chicago at Mercat. We even did the suckling pig with some friends and it was an amazing night to remember. We absolutely adore Mercat and Chef Corey- you really can't go wrong here!
Everything. Pork belly, butternut squash dumplings, rabbit agnolotti, sopa de nabos...I could go on.
This Review has been recommended by 2 people