Over the Christmas weekend, Bill and I ventured to Chicago, which we love to do in the wintertime. With its festive spirit and fewer people on the streets, it’s a nice way to spend a holiday. The only trouble is it can be difficult to find open restaurants, especially this year since Christmas was on a Saturday and many of the restaurants we wanted to try are closed on Sundays.
After dim sum in Chinatown for lunch on Christmas Day, we checked into our hotel downtown and were thrilled to find out that Eno, our favorite wine bar, was open! We like it because you can get a whole flight of goat cheese there, which is unusual for a place that serves cheese.
For dinner we discovered that Sayat Nova, an Armenian restaurant we had been to before, was open Christmas night so we headed in for their excellent red lentil soup.
But what we really enjoy when we venture from home is sampling farm-to-table restaurants whenever possible. That’s why I was surprised we hadn’t heard of Markethouse, which “marries Heartland basics with innovative cooking styles, distinctive ingredients and delectable influences from around the globe.” Maybe because it hasn’t even been open two years?
Executive Chef Scott Walton offers a seasonal menu of contemporary American cuisine using fresh, seasonal herbs, produce, meat and poultry. And, he supports local farmers that practice sustainable agricultural techniques, such as Nichols Farm and Orchard, Slagel Family Farm, and Red Hen Bread. I really appreciate having this information about the food available right on the table.
Because Chef Walton uses seasonal meats and produce, many of the items on the menu were what I’d call winter comfort food–pears, beets, squash, duck, pork, lamb, and Brussels sprouts.
I couldn’t resist starting with the Butternut Squash Soup, which had a drizzle of cranberry jam on top.
Bill had the Slagel Farm Pork Belly. Both starters were delicious. We loved how they were served in Le Creuset cookware–one of our favorite brands for cooking at home.
For dinner, I had the Slagel Farm Pork Shank with farro risotto. Even the chorizo is from the Slagel Farm. It was excellent, and the perfect December meal.
The theme of the evening was certainly pork, since Bill ordered the Berkshire 12 oz. Pork Chop.
As you can tell, the photos aren’t the clearest because the lighting is somewhat dim–just the way we like it.
Accompanied by a bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir, we were happily fed on a cold Sunday evening in downtown Chicago, from Illinois farms to our table. And, we appreciated our server, Scott, answering all our questions about the food!
If you’re looking for the Markethouse Restaurant, you’ll find it adjacent to the Doubletree Hotel on Ohio Street, a couple blocks east of Michigan Avenue.