Markethouse's 3-course for $20 deal on Sundays may be the best value dining in Chicago. Generous portions of great food make this deal a must. Each week features a different array of prix-fixe dishes. When I stopped in last week, field green salad, pea soup, and grilled whole trout were on the menu.
Restaurants make their first impressions with bread service, and here, Markethouse does not disappoint. Sweet potato pecan bread is flavorful enough that butter becomes superfluous. Tasty as the bread is, the housemade pickled vegetables that accompany the bread are even more intriguing. Pickled cucumber, cauliflower, garlic and pearl onions are crisp and the perfect blend of sweet and sour.
A simple salad with white balsamic vinaigrette was a refreshing start to my meal. I was amazed that there was no excess oil left on the plate when I finished my salad, which just goes to show that they nailed it with the vinaigrette.
The broth-based pea soup was lighter than the cream-based soup I was expecting and warmed me right up. The soup had more black-eyed peas than English peas and for once was not too salty. There were a couple pieces of La Querica in the soup and I suspect that they used the La Quercia to flavor the soup as opposed to liberally adding salt.
The main course, grilled whole trout, was regular entree size, which regularly goes for $19. That means an extra $1 added soup and salad to my meal. With beautiful grill marks and accompanied by wild rice, frisee, artichoke and golden raisins, the trout was the highlight of this spectacular meal. Cider brown-butter vinaigrette was a perfect complement to the fresh fish (Though I would never have thought to serve grilled trout with sweet notes).
Difficult though it may be, try and save room for dessert because there are several tempting options. Markethouse's signature buttersctoch bread pudding, Michigan blueberry tart, and molten chocolate lava cake are all made-to-order so be prepared to wait about 20 minutes. The blueberry tart is sweet but light, while the bread pudding is more decadent but not too heavy.
The whole meal made me feel like I just left a Hogwarts feast.