Little Market: For the elegant weeknight dinner date

Photo courtesy of Little Market’s Facebook page.

While we all try to be healthy and frugal during the week by cooking our own culinary delicacies on gas stoves, sometimes you’re just not in the mood. Or, if your kitchen is similar to mine, all that’s in your fridge is beer and Greek yogurt.

If you or your significant other work downtown, meet each other at Little Market American Brasserie in the Gold Coast. Sit on the patio overlooking the not-too-crowded Delaware Place while the weather’s still nice, or park at one of the high-top tables around the gorgeous wooden and white-tiled bar. The place has a hip Parisian feel to it. When it comes to service in the Gold Coast, many restaurants aren’t up to snuff with the level of expectations of its clientele. This is definitely not the case at Little Market. Our server was friendly without lingering and very knowledgable about the offerings. Occasionally a dish would need to be taken or a glass be refilled, and if our server wasn’t in the immediate vicinity, the nearby host would take care of it without a word. My fiance and I appreciate this kind of all-hands-on-deck approach at a restaurant.

What we ate: A couple recommended the risotto small plate to us as we slowly walked by their table on our way in, probably because we were staring at it. “It’s the best in the city,” the man said with his mouth full. He was right – but it could have well served as my entire meal. We also shared the beet salad with goat cheese and pistachios, which was one of the most beet-plentiful salads I’ve ever had at a restaurant. For our entrees, we tried the rainbow trout with pickled cauliflower, cauliflower puree and citrus gremolata; and the halibut with braised kale, squash and pine nuts in a brown butter vinaigrette. Neither fish was gamey, and both were cooked to smooth, silky flakey perfection.

What we drank: He tried the red cow sangria, while I went with the white wash. The red tasted a bit syrupy and much like fruit punch, so we both preferred the very light and fresh white. It could use a little more of a boozy kick, however. Who doesn’t want to get their $10 worth?

Date tip: After dinner, take a short stroll just around the corner to Sprinkles for a cupcake for dessert (open til 9 p.m. Mon.-Sat.). If you’re more of an old-fashioned sundae kind of couple like me, it’s about a 15-minute walk to the iconic Ed Debevic’s, which has been the kitschy River North diner since ’84.


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