Monday, January 28, 2013

Little Market

Location: 10 E Delaware
Cost: About $40 per person

There's this group of guys I'm friends with. I'm tempted to say that they're way cooler than me, but I think it would be more accurate to say that their trendier. These are the dudes that have a membership to some specialty barbershop and always exclude the Professor from events like Blazer Shopping Day. Plus, despite my attempts to eat at cheaper and more ethnic restaurants lately, they're always trying to get me out to places that have just opened. Most recently Sam, Marc, Michael, and Adam got me to join them at Little Market American Brasserie.

Little Market is attached to the Talbott Hotel although they had didn't have any connection built in yet. The dining room has a variety of tables and booths surrounded by tile walls and a rather fancy looking bar. The place was packed, and I suggest you make a reservation. I'd also recommend not driving if you can avoid it since parking is such a pain in that part of town. It's also worth noting that since the restaurant and the hotel aren't connected yet, people had to walk outside in the rain to go to the hotel bathroom.

So the waitress and manager pitched the place to us with a focus on small plates, saying that we should get a bunch of small options and large options with the goal of sharing everything. Our waitress was very knowledgeable about the drink and food items available, but the whole concept was messed up. You can't serve a full hamburger or grilled cheese sandwich and expect it to be a reasonable thing to share amongst a group. In fact, if you look at the menu, it would be perfectly split into an appetizer and entree section (but that's not cool these days). The cost is a bit up there with the smaller dishes and sandwiches around $13 and the larger plates at $20.

The Food
 We got a round of drinks to start. They were selling their house made sodas pretty hard, so I got Blood Orange and Cinnamon and Bourbon. It was weak and sugary, but I'm not usually one to go heavy on the mixers.

The Blood Orange and Cinnamon Soda with Bourbon

It didn't take long for our first small plates to come out, the Deviled Eggs, Pull Apart Bread, and the Short Rib Poutine. The eggs were salty, creamy, and had a some great crunch from the parmesan crisps across the top. I expected big things out of the poutine, especially since it had its own section of the menu. The chunks of short rib were tender but some of our cheese curds weren't warm enough and I could've gone for thicker gravy and more of it.

The Poutine

 The Pull Apart Bread

 The Deviled Eggs

The next three dishes were the Mushrooms on Toast, the Gnocchi, and the Pasta Puttanesca. The M on T was one of my favorite dishes. It was very rich and the shallot marmalade brought a sweet presence to the dish. The gnocchi was made from semolina, and while the texture was spot on, the saltiness was overpowering. The puttanesca had plenty of shrimp and a nice al dente pasta. There were some capers which I was a fan of, but I could tell the rest of my crew wasn't into.

The Gnocchi

 The Mushrooms on Toast

 The Pasta Puttanesca

The big dishes all came out next including the Burger, the Grilled Cheese, the Mac n' Cheese, and the Beef Short Rib. Like I was saying above, the two sandwiches were a nightmare to share. The burger was cooked properly and the homemade pickles were the strongest variable to the standard dish. The grilled cheese had an egg, some bacon, and sriracha sauce which turned into a delicious mess. The mac was in shell form (so not really mac) and the sauce had the perfect thickness. The short rib was extra tender, but the sauce didn't pack much flavor.

 The Mac n' Cheese

 The Burger

 The Grilled Cheese

 The Short Rib

For dessert we tried the Apple Almond Tart, the Hazelnut Crisp, and the Black Bottom Sundae. The tart was my favorite and was way too buttery. The crisp was too difficult to break up to enjoy. I thought the sundae was kind of boring until I got to the brownie on the bottom.

The Black Bottom Sundae

 The Hazelnut Crisp

 The Apple Tart

Clearly I felt mislead by the attempt at the small plate concept, and I thought a bunch of the food was hit and miss. My favorite dishes were the Mushrooms on Toast and the Grilled Cheese. Otherwise I'm not so sure. I'm giving Little Market 2.5 Pearls.

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