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May Street Market

May Street Market
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  • May Street Market

    Post #1 - March 23rd, 2006, 1:14 am
    Post #1 - March 23rd, 2006, 1:14 am Post #1 - March 23rd, 2006, 1:14 am
    We're thinking of trying this new restaurant on Grand out this Friday night. Has anyone been there yet? What do you think?

    May Street Market
    1132 W. Grand Ave
    Chicago, IL
    312-421-5547
  • Post #2 - March 24th, 2006, 11:01 am
    Post #2 - March 24th, 2006, 11:01 am Post #2 - March 24th, 2006, 11:01 am
    There was a 3 star review of May St. Market in today's Sun-Times, it might be some where on the Sun-Times site but I couldn't find it.

    Nolan
  • Post #3 - March 24th, 2006, 11:34 am
    Post #3 - March 24th, 2006, 11:34 am Post #3 - March 24th, 2006, 11:34 am
    I do not know the restaurant, per se, but I've some things about the place that jive quite well with my food fetishes. First, my favorite farmer friend, Farmer Vicki (Genesis Growers) told me that May St. Market is using her produce. Second, I heard that May St. Market is gonna make an effort to be "truly local" in their sourcing. I wonder how that will play out, but, if nothing else, I appreciate the effort.

    On a slightly related front, I have to give a shout out to my "friends" at Frontera for giving a grant to the afforementioned Farmer Vicki. I say "friends" given my recent mixed review of Frontera, but I surely appreciate Rick Bayless's effort towards local farms.
    Last edited by Vital Information on March 24th, 2006, 12:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #4 - March 24th, 2006, 11:56 am
    Post #4 - March 24th, 2006, 11:56 am Post #4 - March 24th, 2006, 11:56 am
    Careful in your wording...do you mean May Street MARKET, the new-ish restaurant, or May St. CAFE on Cermak in Pilsen?
  • Post #5 - March 24th, 2006, 12:06 pm
    Post #5 - March 24th, 2006, 12:06 pm Post #5 - March 24th, 2006, 12:06 pm
    crrush wrote:Careful in your wording...do you mean May Street MARKET, the new-ish restaurant, or May St. CAFE on Cermak in Pilsen?


    I mean May St. Market, the place in this thread. I will edit my post above.
  • Post #6 - March 31st, 2006, 12:14 pm
    Post #6 - March 31st, 2006, 12:14 pm Post #6 - March 31st, 2006, 12:14 pm
    Any reports from May Street Market? I have a reservation tonight. If I'm brave enough, I'll take pictures and provide a full report, but I'm still a bit sheepish about doing this in a nice restaurant. Tips for food photography are appreciated, too!
  • Post #7 - April 1st, 2006, 1:52 pm
    Post #7 - April 1st, 2006, 1:52 pm Post #7 - April 1st, 2006, 1:52 pm
    I ate there with my clients last month... interesting.....
    I amost felt in some aspects they tried to hard. Trying to pair different tasteds that at times didn't really work. My desert was phenomenal!!!!!! amazing I would go back just for that. The chef has a snow cone/gelato machine from Germany that cost like 3000.00 and makes some interesting palette cleansers. The main dish was tasty and presentation is beautiful I would definitely check it out again.
  • Post #8 - April 1st, 2006, 2:51 pm
    Post #8 - April 1st, 2006, 2:51 pm Post #8 - April 1st, 2006, 2:51 pm
    Was it a pacojet?

    I really, really want one. Mmm.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #9 - April 1st, 2006, 4:07 pm
    Post #9 - April 1st, 2006, 4:07 pm Post #9 - April 1st, 2006, 4:07 pm
    I have been there twice, both times for lunch. The first time was fantastic. I had the baby spinach salad with poached egg and truffle oil with bacon, and the carrot curry soup with mussels.

    Second time, the vibe was freaky, the waitress had some weird attitude problem.. my friend and I found ourselves wondering what we had done wrong to piss her off.

    Anyhow, the food was still good, second time around, I had the pulled pork sandwich.

    I just hope the attitude goes away because I think it has great potential.
    canadian in your midst
  • Post #10 - April 3rd, 2006, 10:57 am
    Post #10 - April 3rd, 2006, 10:57 am Post #10 - April 3rd, 2006, 10:57 am
    Having worked with Chef Cheswick back in the day while at Tru, I was very excited to I have the pleasure of dining here for lunch last week. i had the mushroom soup, pea shoot salad and barbecue pork sandwich. Service was gracious and attentive and the food was delicious as well. I look forward to trying it out for dinner sometime in the near future.
    Graham Elliot Bowles
    Chef/Owner
    www.grahamelliot.com
  • Post #11 - April 3rd, 2006, 12:16 pm
    Post #11 - April 3rd, 2006, 12:16 pm Post #11 - April 3rd, 2006, 12:16 pm
    Our dinner was outstanding, from start to finish.

    Arrived a little early to check out the lay of the land and had a fair glass of white Bordeaux at the bar (8$). My companion ordered a gimlet, which seemed to confuse the bartender, and resulted in a glass of Roses Lime on the rocks with a splash of vodka. The gin martini was much, much better.

    The restaurant has a curious drink list—one of those frou-frou deals that wouldn’t appeal to me at most places, but seeing dishes of fresh watermelon, kumquat, cucumber and grapes on the bar does peak my interest. We didn’t get the list until after we ordered the first round, so I didn’t try one. They’ve got a watermelon martini, a cucumber cosmo, a pomegranate-ginger daiquiri, white grape crush (a questionable mix of vodka, grapes and Bordeaux), raspberry kumquat caiaproska (no clue), a ginger rogers (gin, mint, ginger, lemon and ginger ale), strawberry basil martini and a prickly pear margarita. They're all 10 bucks.

    The bar area is gorgeous. If you're not into the whole three- or four-course throw-down, you can't go wrong sitting at the bar or lounging at the lowslung couch-chairs over drinks and appetizers.

    The dining room is a bit loud, and I've got to say the series of seagull prints lining the walls seemed out of place. Flocks of seagulls have never had any romantic or savory connotations for me. Just poop and garbage-picking. Not that it kept me from eating--and enjoying--everything.

    Started with the pea shoot salad with red wine shallot vinaigrette and goat cheese wrapped in proscuitto, drizzled with honey (8$). Fresh, crisp assortment of greens. Pea shoots are delicious, but one of those frizzly, uncooperative foods that are difficult to eat gracefully. I always end up feeling like a cow chewing her cud, ramming stray tendrils into the corners of my mouth while I'm chewing.

    Fellow diner ordered the duck liver creme brulee with potato baumkuchen, radish, asparagus and fennel salad with balsamic gelee ($9). For the record, he would never order such a thing, but after his disgraceful behavior at Amanacer Tapatiolast weekend, he obliged.

    The liver brulee comes in a demitasse-style ramekin and was airy-light, earthy and musky. Expertly balanced when served on the baumkuchen (a traditional multilayer German cake, but this was a salty-savory version that seemed more like spongy, light layers of bread than potato).

    I ordered the pistachio-crusted venison medallions with chive spaetzle, carrot puree and lingonberry sauce ($26). The venison medallions are slightly larger than golf ball rounds, about half an inch thick, cooked medium-rare and served with a smear of crushed pistachios on top of the spaetzle. The spaetzle looked like psychedelic lima beans on first glance, but they were a perfect, light onion contrast to the game-y meat. Sublime. If you’re afraid of venison because of it’s gaminess, this dish would convert you.

    No complaints were heard from the companion, who ordered the pork tenderloin wrapped in pancetta with braised fennel, fingerling potatoes and herb salad ($20)…after reassuring him that “pancetta” wasn’t some kind of weird vegetable. It’s amazing how quickly the phrase “it’s like bacon” can make a man leery of schmancy food change his mind.

    Dessert was some kind of banana crèam pie concoction, deconstructed. At that point, I was too stuffed and tipsy from the martini and mediocre bottle of red (Crios syrah) to pay too much attention. Seems like a restaurant of this caliber should have a good cheese menu, but I don’t remember seeing one. Again, things were fuzzy by the end.

    Service was spotty, as someone else pointed out. Our server seemed to forget about us for long stretches of time, and our water glasses were never refilled. I can't help but think it's because we weren't cajoled into the overpriced bottle of sparkling water that was offered several times. I'm also not a big fan of servers who tell you that "the way it's done" is to order something from the salads/appetizers, and a soup, and an entree. The chef did come out to introduce himself, but bless his heart, he seemed shell-shocked from actually interacting with customers. We were trying to be friendly and inquire about his techniques and history (Germany, Tru, etc.), but he looked absolutely terrified. Poor guy.

    I believe I read somewhere that May Street Market is supposed to be a godsend for Chicago because we have so few inexpensive casual fine dining options. I might disagree with it being called “inexpensive” but it is a fantastic destination, particularly if you’re into the seasonal/local menu concept.
    Last edited by crrush on April 3rd, 2006, 5:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #12 - April 3rd, 2006, 5:19 pm
    Post #12 - April 3rd, 2006, 5:19 pm Post #12 - April 3rd, 2006, 5:19 pm
    I live right above it but haven't ventured in yet. Looks a bit buaghty, but I'll give it a try.
    Like pizza? Check out the Chicago Pizza Club
  • Post #13 - April 3rd, 2006, 5:28 pm
    Post #13 - April 3rd, 2006, 5:28 pm Post #13 - April 3rd, 2006, 5:28 pm
    MSM was written up in Crain's this week. It was a pretty favorable review.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #14 - May 4th, 2006, 5:59 pm
    Post #14 - May 4th, 2006, 5:59 pm Post #14 - May 4th, 2006, 5:59 pm
    Having ranted, albeit mildly, against the Chicago Magazine 20 Best New Restaurants list again this year, it is time to start eating at them and finding that mostly I actually like them. Today's choice: May Street Market.

    I was joined for lunch, fairly spur of the momentish, by G Wiv and Pigmon. It's an attractive restaurant, a handsome bar area (empty at lunch) with lots of woods and a big fireplace, and a dining room in white and Hot Chocolate brown, though much sunnier at lunchtime than that Bucktown spot (Chicago Mag 20 Best New Restaurants '05). In a mood to try a lot, we each had an appetizer course; Pigmon started with a mushroom soup accompanied by a small salad including white asparagus, which he thought salty (the soup I mean) but seemed just fine to me; I ordered a lemon grass soup (which tasted more like sweet potatoes or something) accompanied by a small bowl of mussels (very much like those at Hot Chocolate, C.M.20.B.N.R. '05, though I think I'd give theirs the nod):

    Image

    And G Wiv started with a baby spinach leaf salad with truffle oil poached egg, warm bacon dressing and melba toast, to which he had them add the blue cheese from some other dish. Dig in, Gary!

    Image

    What's this? This egg isn't just poached, it's petrified! A startling misstep at this stage of the lunch...

    Image

    ...though quickly rectified when brought to their attention:

    Image

    Egg corrected, this was a flavorful and well-balanced salad, very nicely done.

    When it came time to order entrees, we soon found that we had all zeroed in on the same item: a "duck burger" with fig and blue cheese. A quick wrestle under the table and we decided that G Wiv would order the duck burger:

    Image

    Pigmon ordered parsley risotto with vegetable cappelini and truffle sauce:

    Image

    While I ordered a braised oxtail po' boy sandwich, which came as two little burgers. I got very nice fries with a truffle mayo and parmesan, while G Wiv got baked beans which were undercooked and rather bland and, all in all, seemed a rather odd choice for a side dish option in this upscale setting. Here's fries, the duck burger again, and the beans:

    Image

    Of the three entrees, we had two hits and one miss. The duck burger was really good, mind you the meat would probably be good under any circumstances but we all felt like the port wine fig and the blue cheese really harmonized impressively. Likewise, the risotto (which despite the truffle in the description was not overpowered by that flavor, perhaps a little too omnipresent on this menu) was really nicely carried off, good flavor and even better texture. Here's a picture of it later on, where you can actually see the rice (or is it "rice"? What makes it a parsley risotto?):

    Image

    The miss was the braised oxtail, which was curried up in an excessively sweet sauce; a reasonable and inventive thing to do with that meat, I guess, but where the other dishes seemed to know what their motivation was, to arise organically from their natures, this one seemed to be flirting with becoming a Flav-r Creation® like an Irish Cajun Curry Mocha Mole Oxtail Snackawich. It was just trying too hard and paying off too little; braised oxtail can be so sumptuous on its own, it didn't need to Go Asian!

    Speaking of a lack of need, we didn't really need dessert, okay, we didn't need dessert at all, but I was suckered in by this description:

    Chez Panisse olive oil sauternes cake with lavender ice cream and raspberry port reduction


    Especially given my well-known hatred for Chez Panisse, as well as my own cooking with lavender and some vestigial memory of the mention of the ice cream maker above, we had to have it. And it was... not nearly as interesting as either its description or this photo:

    Image

    None of the flavors mentioned-- olive oil, Sauternes, or lavender-- particularly wowed or was even necessarily perceptible. I'm not saying it was bad, by any means, but it didn't live up to that description, or that pedigree.

    So, how did we feel about May Street Market? About half the dishes lived up very well to the restaurant's ambitions-- regionally sourced, lushly flavorful combinations. The other half were visibly trying to get there, and not quite up to it. Overall, I think May Street is a pretty good new restaurant with some room and potential to become a very good one over time. Anyway, I wouldn't mind going back for a whole duck burger of my own sometime, or going back in a few months for dinner to see a little more of what they're capable of by that point.

    May Street Market
    1132 W. Grand Ave., Chicago
    Tel: (312) 421-554
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  • Post #15 - May 4th, 2006, 6:30 pm
    Post #15 - May 4th, 2006, 6:30 pm Post #15 - May 4th, 2006, 6:30 pm
    Mike,

    I think you hit the nail right on the head with your comments.

    The thing that blows me away more than anything is that you had this post up before I woke up from my siesta that immediately followed the lunch! Impressive.

    People often ask about decent lunch spots near the loop. May Street Market seems to me to be a perfect choice for a slightly upscale lunch. Most of their customers appeared to be business clientele, possibly coming from the loop area.

    I enjoyed this place alot.
  • Post #16 - May 4th, 2006, 11:31 pm
    Post #16 - May 4th, 2006, 11:31 pm Post #16 - May 4th, 2006, 11:31 pm
    Mike, Pigmon,

    I also enjoyed lunch, the room was sunny and bright, comfy chairs, good company and, for the most part, quite good food. I'm a sucker for a Lyonnaise salad so when I saw May Street's spinach/warm bacon dressing variation, no question as to my starter. The salad was excellent, once they got past the misstep of a hard-cooked poached egg.

    Duck burger, as has been said, was delicious, port wine figs bringing much to the party, and the fries that came with Mike G's oddly combined sweet BBQ sauce oxtail were terrific. I also liked Pigmon's parsley risotto, which would make a lovely light lunch, and would work well for vegetarians. Where Mike and Pigmon were not enthused with the Olive Oil Sauternes cake, I thought it quite nice in an upscale pound cake fashion.

    I'm looking forward to returning with my wife, who I suspect will like menu, decor and overall ambiance.

    After lunch I stopped at D'Amato's for a slice of JeffB recommended cherry bar. Very damn good, not necessarily a best of the month for me, but very good none the less.

    As I exited Bari I noticed, right across the street, Terry's Toffee. I stopped in, chatted with the friendly owner, tasted a few toffee's and bought 1/4-lb of McCall's Classic. Like the place, love the enthusiasm, even like the toffee, but $8.15 w/tax for 1/4-lb of toffee. :shock:

    Mike, nice May Street pictures.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #17 - May 4th, 2006, 11:51 pm
    Post #17 - May 4th, 2006, 11:51 pm Post #17 - May 4th, 2006, 11:51 pm
    Ah!!!!

    I thought I recognized you from one of the photos you've posted as I pulled away from D'Amato's after picking up some pizza for lunch, but I wasn't sure!

    ALMOST said hi... wish I had :-)
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #18 - May 5th, 2006, 7:24 am
    Post #18 - May 5th, 2006, 7:24 am Post #18 - May 5th, 2006, 7:24 am
    Dmnkly wrote:ALMOST said hi... wish I had :-)

    You definitely should have said hi.
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #19 - May 9th, 2006, 5:33 pm
    Post #19 - May 9th, 2006, 5:33 pm Post #19 - May 9th, 2006, 5:33 pm
    I definitely have GOT to try one of these duck burgers. I noticed on their website they have a sample menu. Their dinner menu offers a "trio" of burgers with frites (also a tasty-sounding option - I like the mini-size.)

    Regarding that strawberry-basil martini, that might be good. I made a martini called a Basil Grande (not my recipe, stolen from a Chambord book) that was a huge hit at my Christmas party this year.

    Incidentally, it involves fresh strawberries & basil, muddled in the shaker, and then mixed with vodka, chambord, and cranberry juice. You strain it, and garnish with fresh basil and white pepper. Extremely good!

    I wonder if their martini is similar. I'd really like to know now....
    -- Nora --
    "Great food is like great sex. The more you have the more you want." ~Gael Greene
  • Post #20 - June 4th, 2006, 4:59 pm
    Post #20 - June 4th, 2006, 4:59 pm Post #20 - June 4th, 2006, 4:59 pm
    We went for dinner last night. While the food was quite good, the service was apathetic at best.

    I started out with the white asparagus soup. The soup, served with a crab flan (don't even ask me what that is), some gulf shrimp, and small pieces of asparagus, was a great showpiece for some wonderful ingredients. The girlfriend had a maytag bleu cheesecake. This was served with an apricot ice cream and just enough cayenne pepper to keep you interested.

    For my main course I had the now popular bass and pork combo. May Street's version was a crispy black bass served over mushrooms and braised pork cheeks. Everything on the plate was delicious.

    Clearly the strengths of May Street Market are both the quality of the ingredients being used and the technical skills of the kitchen. The service on the other hand...

    When we asked our server for recommendations, she basically just started to recite the menu. When the soups arrived at the table (one other member of our party ordered the asparagus soup) no spoon were in sight, and we had to make a considerable effort to flag down someone, anyone for spoons before our soup got cold. The pace of the meal was a bit on the slow side, which our server attributed to a backed up kitchen. A reasonable excuse, except for the fact that restaurant was about half-full.

    Bottom line: May Street Market falls into the category of restaurants I would go back to if someone else were to suggest it if we were going out, but I probably wouldn't suggest it myself.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #21 - June 21st, 2006, 4:52 pm
    Post #21 - June 21st, 2006, 4:52 pm Post #21 - June 21st, 2006, 4:52 pm
    A good friend of eatchicago's is in town this week and he treated us to dinner last night at May Street Market.

    My first impressions of the place were very positive. Open and airy dining room, well chosen and well placed art, smiling and attentive wait staff, etc. The dining room was not crowded and remained about half full throughout the evening. We were a bit surprised at this but it did not deter from our own good time.

    We started our meal with three distinct choices. eatchicago chose a very delicious little lamp chop and eatchicago's friend had a beautiful heirloom tomato salad which he claimed was delightful. I had the sweet corn soup with gulf shrimp. The soup was very good - my only comment was that it might have been a tad too sweet. I felt like it needed something salty to balance it out.

    There was a private group of about 25 that had taken over the front portion of the restaurant and at one point during the meal, someone started singing. We weren't sure if this was hired entertainment or just someone's co-worked deciding to show off her talent, but it sure was amusing. It sounded sort of like opera...being sung through a pelican's beak that was half submerged in water. We chalked up the odd sound to the acoustics. But I digress...

    When the server brought our appetizers, she brought me a teaspoon. I thought this was an oversight but when I requested a soup spoon, she claimed that the private party was using all of them and hoped I didn't have a problem with the teaspoon. What what what? So the fact that I had to eat the entire bowl with a teaspoon kind of put a small damper on my enjoyment of it.

    For the main entree, I had the pan roasted halibut filet in horseradish crust with celery and radish salad, yukon gold and celery root puree. The first few bites were pleasant and paired quite well with the excellent dry alsatian riesling that eatchicago chose. But as the buzz from the booze wore off, my enjoyment of the meal started to decline. The fish was actually slightly dry and somewhat stringy, the horseradish crust didn't taste like horseradish, and the puree kinda tasted like it came from a mix. For the price, I expected something more along the lines of the perfectly cooked fish found at Spring or Scylla. I really wanted to enjoy this dish but I fear I should have ordered the pork chop that I originally eyed. Sigh, next time.

    Eatchicago and friend were very happy with their respective entrees: pork cheek paired with pan seared trout, and diver scallop with sauteed spinach. I tasted a bit of eatchicago's cheek and it was excellent - very juicy. But I always like his cheeks so I guess I am biased ;)

    For dessert we shared a plate of cheescake ice cream with some sort of dry, crumbly stuff on top and some mixed berries. We all declared that the dessert missed the mark - mostly because of the dry, crumbly stuff - but I enjoyed the ice cream. eatchicago reminded me that I have yet to meet an ice cream that I didn't like. True. Also, May Street Market serves Metropolis coffee and they do a good job of brewing the decaf.

    Overall, I would have to say that I am in no hurry to return to MSM. I had a good time there and the service was great (except for the spoon!) but it just did not live up to my expectations. I'd rather go to a place like Lula or West Town Tavern where I have yet to be disappointed.
  • Post #22 - June 23rd, 2006, 8:43 am
    Post #22 - June 23rd, 2006, 8:43 am Post #22 - June 23rd, 2006, 8:43 am
    petit pois wrote:My first impressions of the place were very positive. Open and airy dining room, well chosen and well placed art, smiling and attentive wait staff, etc. The dining room was not crowded and remained about half full throughout the evening. We were a bit surprised at this but it did not deter from our own good time.


    petit pois neglects to mention that her positive first impressions were slightly marred by an amuse bouche that she disliked so much that she did not finish it. It was a small coup chilled watermelon soup with a dollop of mojito sorbet, which I found very refreshing. She compared it to "melted Jell-O".

    petit pois wrote:When the server brought our appetizers, she brought me a teaspoon. I thought this was an oversight but when I requested a soup spoon, she claimed that the private party was using all of them...


    This was really an absolute first for me. Never before have I been to a restaurant where they ran out of silverware. It shocked me further that even though there was a big party in the next room, the restaurant still remained over half-empty. I'm still tempted to give them a call and highly recommend that they make the small investment in extra silverware if they really want to be taken seriously.

    My first course of a small lamb chop with chanterelle mushrooms and potato custard was terrific and I would have loved a triple portion as a main course.

    petit pois wrote:pork cheek paired with pan seared trout


    This main course worked very well: nice crispy trout skin and perfectly cooked flesh. The pork was moist, tender, and well seasoned. The trout was served atop some very flavorful and fragrant mousseron mushrooms. The pork was served with a forgettable potato-filled crepe and a sweet pea puree.

    petit pois wrote:Overall, I would have to say that I am in no hurry to return to MSM.


    For obvious reasons, I was a little more impressed with the place. Everything I tasted was top quality and well constructed. I was also very impressed with the extensive wine list that had dozens of reasonably priced options--probably the most extensive selection of sub-$40 restaurant bottles that I've seen in Chicago. The food menu on the other hand really didn't reflect this pricing scheme, as I found it to be skewed slightly high: 8 of the non-veggie entrees are priced at $28 or higher (including all but one of the meat selections and half the fish selections). I'm not criticizing the value, as they surely have very high ingredient costs, but the food pricing seemed out of step with their wine list philosophy. I'd like to see them offer a couple other more affordable entrees, which would definitely encourage my return.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #23 - June 23rd, 2006, 9:21 am
    Post #23 - June 23rd, 2006, 9:21 am Post #23 - June 23rd, 2006, 9:21 am
    petit pois wrote
    It sounded sort of like opera...being sung through a pelican's beak that was half submerged in water.


    Food be damned! This might be enough to ruin a meal for me! :)

    -The GP
  • Post #24 - June 23rd, 2006, 9:26 am
    Post #24 - June 23rd, 2006, 9:26 am Post #24 - June 23rd, 2006, 9:26 am
    The GP wrote:petit pois wrote
    It sounded sort of like opera...being sung through a pelican's beak that was half submerged in water.


    Food be damned! This might be enough to ruin a meal for me! :)


    Thankfully, it only lasted about 2 minutes. I think petit pois was getting ready to perform the Heimlich maneuver on the poor woman. :)
  • Post #25 - June 30th, 2006, 9:35 am
    Post #25 - June 30th, 2006, 9:35 am Post #25 - June 30th, 2006, 9:35 am
    I liked the space. Thoguth the winelist was well thought out and extremely well priced.

    Food was good, entrees way better than appetizers.

    I started with the mesclun salad with beets. The presentation was really pretty but made the food difficult to eat. The salad was in bowl with the toppings artfully arranged on the plate next to it. The fiance had a crab cake which she loved.

    The entrees really shined. I had the elk chop with vension tenderloin. She had the flatiron steak with buffalo sausage. Both were outstanding.

    The bill was Very reasonable.

    We'll def go back.
  • Post #26 - June 30th, 2006, 11:00 am
    Post #26 - June 30th, 2006, 11:00 am Post #26 - June 30th, 2006, 11:00 am
    I liked the space. Thoguth the winelist was well thought out and extremely well priced.


    I believe May Street Market is the restaurant that paired with The Artisan Cellar in the Merchandise Mart; they provide their wines at what is supposed to be "cost" to the customer were they to buy in the store.

    The guys at the Artisan Cellar are great, whenver I'm working on a contract assignment at the Mart, love stopping in to pick up some things (as well as the really great paninis they serve during lunch hours).

    miss ellen
  • Post #27 - June 30th, 2006, 4:25 pm
    Post #27 - June 30th, 2006, 4:25 pm Post #27 - June 30th, 2006, 4:25 pm
    eatchicago wrote:The food menu on the other hand really didn't reflect this pricing scheme, as I found it to be skewed slightly high: 8 of the non-veggie entrees are priced at $28 or higher (including all but one of the meat selections and half the fish selections). I'm not criticizing the value, as they surely have very high ingredient costs, but the food pricing seemed out of step with their wine list philosophy. I'd like to see them offer a couple other more affordable entrees, which would definitely encourage my return.

    The name "market" some how conveyed to me a more casual restaurant than this one turns out to be, and I found the high prices surprising. I agree they probably reflect the foodstuffs and preparation, but it's a hard sell in the location.

    I liked the bar space, but found the dining room kind of cold -- even a little off-putting, with that monstrous plant stenciled on the wall and the photos out of Hitchcock's "The Birds" -- especially in comparison to sort of wicker-basket-and-checked-tablecloth market cafe I envisioned.
  • Post #28 - March 23rd, 2007, 8:30 pm
    Post #28 - March 23rd, 2007, 8:30 pm Post #28 - March 23rd, 2007, 8:30 pm
    Chowder Games - May Street Market

    Dining recently at May Street Market, the West Town restaurant, recently celebrating its first anniversary, reminded me of how much I treasure restaurants. Not just the temples - the Trotter, Alinea, Le Francais, or even Frontera Grill - but those two-star templettes, that even when they occasionally stumble, provide so much pleasure at a price that permits middling diners a routine fete. And there are no shortage of these restaurants in Chicagoland, where for well under $100, a diner can indulge as a lesser-sybarite. Consider Avec, Crofton, Lula, Prairie Grass, One Sixty Blue, Spring, Magnolia Grill, Rhapsody, West Town Tavern. The list could go on and on (including Italian and Latin-inflected boîtes). These sterling establishments are hardly interchangeable, but each is serious about food and ambiance, while not performing in the four-star circus.

    Within this crew is surely Chef/Owner Alexander Cheswick's May Street Market (always confused with the quite distinct nuevo-Latino May Street Café on Cermak). May Street Market sports a clean, spare space. Some find it cool, others simply cold. As a setting for cuisine it has a white box purity (the bar area is more colorful and is more visually striking). May Street is also known for their affordable wine list (they do not have a corkage fee - either select their wines or choose water). We ordered a splendid 2003 Neil Ellis Stellenbosch Cabernet blend for $38 (about twice the asking price for this South African bottle; not an inappropriate markup).

    Service was cheerful, although at our corner table, the busboy and waiter found choreography difficult. We also appreciated the cheer of Chantal Randolph, May Street's Managing Partner, now in Chicago from her home in Zaire.

    Much of the food was worthy of song, inspirational takes on current trends in cuisine. May Street is known for their Maytag Blue Cheesecake with Red Wine Poached Bosc Pear, Arugula, Spiced Pecans, and Bartlett Pear Sorbet. The savory cheesecake was heavy, and needed to be speared with the poached pear or sorbet. By itself, the cake didn't merit raves, although the plate itself was an elegant mix.

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    Better - and oh so amusing - was May Street's commentary on molecular cuisine. I thoroughly treasured Cheswick's Deconstructed French Onion Soup with Apple Onion Flan, Mahon Cheese, and a Pretzel Crouton. The soup was sweet and tangy, and lacked the earthy weight that often characterizes Non-deconstructed Soupe l'Oignon. Its cleverness - a twitting of the preposterous outrages of Grant Achatz - in no way marred the favored combination of apple-onion flan, Mahon cheese, and the crouton. Every bite was sublime, including each micro-green. A memorable dish.

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    Both main courses were lush and indulgent. Of the two entrees, I give a bare edge to Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Pancetta and Apricots, served over black beans with mustard grain jus. It was moist, fruity, and dense with pleasure, although, as with all May Street dishes (so common in our dulcet gustatory age), it leaned toward the honeyed.

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    Perfectly Roasted Venison Medallions in a Pistachio Crust with Carrot Purée, Chive Spaetzle, and Lingonberry Sauce was another sterling dish of joyously juicy deer. Still, Chef Cheswick might be reminded that we have four tastes, not merely sweetbuds. This is a cook who offers no bitter love to his diners. The pistachio crust was an instance in which less would have been more. In contrast, the chive spaetzel, appearing as lime-green lima beans, was a delicate surprise. However, the best spot was a perfection of carrot purée. Was there another vegetable for which the word ethereal would have better fit? I suspect not.

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    For dessert we shared Coconut Panna Cotta with Vanilla Poached Pineapple, Mango Sorbet, and a Coconut-Coriander Cake. After the splendor of the meats, this dessert faltered. Each element lacked a strong flavor. The cake, absent a powerful memory of coconut or coriander, was dry and plain. The dish appeared lovely, but the love ended at the cornea. The dessert menu reads well, but we lost the gustatory lottery this night.

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    Although May Street Market claims to focus on "regional producers" (and sustainable farming practices), a menu that lists apricot, ginger, pineapple, coconut, mango, lingonberries, sea scallops, truffles, gulf shrimp, calamari, Spanish goat cheese, lemon grass, buffalo, and Dungeness crab has an oddly expansive understanding of region. If we eat global, why not think global? Yes, Maytag Blue Cheese is produced by our friends in Eye-o-Way, but for this early spring menu, a claim that ennobles the local seems a conceit.

    Still, May Street Market is a welcome and smart addition to the Chicago dining scene. Perhaps it lacks a distinctive niche, but this takes nothing from its culinary charms. As far as I am concerned, Chef Cheswick can deconstruct my chowder any time he wishes.

    May Street Market
    1132 West Grand
    Chicago (West Town)
    312-421-5547
    http://www.maystreetmarket.com

    http://www.vealcheeks.blogspot.com
  • Post #29 - March 23rd, 2007, 8:53 pm
    Post #29 - March 23rd, 2007, 8:53 pm Post #29 - March 23rd, 2007, 8:53 pm
    Thank you, GAF! That is one of the most articulate and entertaining reviews of a restaurant that I have read in quite a while, and it really captures what May Street Market has to offer, both positive and not-quite-as-positive. Bravo!
  • Post #30 - March 24th, 2007, 12:57 am
    Post #30 - March 24th, 2007, 12:57 am Post #30 - March 24th, 2007, 12:57 am
    GAF wrote:May Street is known for their Maytag Blue Cheesecake with Red Wine Poached Bosc Pear, Arugula, Spiced Pecans, and Bartlett Pear Sorbet.


    A nice review, but in my mind, May Street Market is known for its Duck burger with fig and bleu cheese.

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    Photo coutresy of Mike G.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven

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