A gastronomic wonder plopped in the West Side, May Street Market's cutting-edge menu and lengthy, exotic wine list makes dinner worth the trek from anywhere in the city (or anywhere in Illinois, for that matter).
Culinary-great Alexander Cheswick returned from stints at several acclaimed European restaurants to pioneer his own bistro-esque baby. Cooking locally farmed ingredients into edible masterpieces, Cheswick revises his menu frequently and according to season. Summer favorites at my nearly-flawless meal included the trio of baby burgers (beef, duck and seared tuna all smothered in rich truffle aioli and garnished with a side of pomme frites) and the maytag blue cheesecake (topped with greens, drizzled in balsamic syrup and decorated with candied pecans and apricot ice).
You'll also find tasty fare along the lines of roasted venison medallions with chive spaetzle, carrot puree and lingonberry sauce; and vanilla semifreddo with chocolate ganache and caramelized bananas.
Choose liquids from the accompanying freshly-printed wine list, prepared by the Merchandise Mart's Artisanal Wine Cellars, or ask your server for the perfect pairing (the Malbec our waitress surprised us with for the foie gras was divine). Service is impeccable—the accommodating manager even sent us off with "parting gifts" of mini truffle brownies. I'm already planning my next visit, scheduled to take place immediately before the otherwise-shabby stretch of Grand Avenue becomes overrun with eager patrons.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Carly Schwartz