1/03/2013 02:37:00 PM

First Look: Little Market Brasserie Redefines The Hotel Restaurant

Chef Ryan Poli: We like his hair, we like his food and we hope to like his newest concept with Mercadito Hospitality Group. The American brasserie is currently in soft-opening mode, but will celebrate its grand opening on the 18th. It serves breakfast, lunch a dinner with a menu of European inspired staples such as pasta puttanesca as well as neighborhood (Gold Coast) favorites such as lobster rolls.

If Tavernita was Poli’s naughty mistress, then Little Market Brasserie is the girl next door. Leaving the amber glow, loud music and foul-mouthed canine mascot in River North, much of Little Market’s vibe is determined by its location in The Talbott Hotel. Feeding the hotel as well as tourist crowd, this is not the place to plan to go to on a special occasion or make a reservation months in advance. This is a place to gather with friends over a satisfying meal before moving on (with a full stomach) to the rest of the day or evening.

Food: No more tapas and paella for Poli. The menu is strictly Euro-American. In an interview with GrubStreet, Poli said the menu is “Very approachable... nothing too intricate, nothing with too many ingredients, nothing pretentious.” Dishes such as lobster ravioli, roast chicken and NY strip steak are served for dinner. Select sandwiches and breakfast staples are served during the day. Remnants of the previous restaurant (PT Pop-Up, essentially a test run for Little Market) remain in the form of nightly specials such as taco night.

Drink: Bright and boozy concoctions are the Tippling Bros.’ specialty. The created the on-tap cocktail program at Tavernita and are back with a new twist for Little Market’s program. DIY cocktails are offered with a choice of “chargers” and spirit. The charger is a gourmet mixer, flavored with meyer lemon, hibiscus and vanilla, corn flower and yuzu, or blood orange and cinnamon. Each can be paired with a selection of spirits from vodka to brandy. For the less adventurous drinkers, signature cocktails include the “Bengal Sidecar” with chai-infused cognac, curaçao, lemon, blood orange and a Bengali Tiger IPA float.

Décor: A marble bar, black and white floor, and reclaimed subway tiles on the walls make diners feel like they walked off the streets of Chicago and into a Parisian café or New York City establishment. It’s confortable yet cool with leather booths and vibrant paintings of produce. Pull up a seat at the bar for a glass of wine, or stay a while with the soon-to-be-offered share plates.

Details: 10 E. Delaware Pl.; 312-640-8141

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