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News Fri Mar 07 2008

Better Than Room Service

This week, a landmark Chicago hotel and a former Chicago hotel both get some time in the spotlight for their new dining options. Yesterday's Trib Tempo section trotted out a long Phil Vettel review of Lockwood, the new restaurant at the Palmer House Hilton (which had arguably been without fine dining even before Trader Vic's closed shop). While some have cited rocky service as a potential downfall at chef Phillip Voss's new establishment, the mid-century-style decadence and playful menu have others, particularly the other Phil, eating it up.

Just a bit further down Michigan Avenue, The Blackstone (Blackstone Hotel? Whatever it's called, it was a hotel, now it's condos. Let's move on) has also gotten a new kitchen crew with the opening of Mercat a la Planxa, a new tapas joint from Chicago-born, Philly-tried chef Jose Garces. The Mercat website (beware, annoying music) touts Garces style as "mod-Mediterranean" which sounds fun, and the grill-heavy menu sounds delicious. Tapas is something of a crowded market in Chicago, but the Southish Loop could benefit from a few more options, and some are already heralding Mercat's success. Mercat opens tomorrow, March 8.

Rob Potter / March 10, 2008 7:43 AM

You must check out Mercat a la Planxa! It is a world away from other Tapas restaurants in Chicago! The food amazing! The atmosphere is electrifying!

Just one correction; The Blackstone Hotel is actually a Marriott Rennaisance hotel, not condos.

morris huntley / March 10, 2008 2:18 PM

Had dinner last night. Mercat is the gold standard for tapas as well as service.Look out chicago

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