CHICAGO (WLS) --As rents across Chicago's North Side continue to rise, restaurateurs looking for bargains keep finding options in Humboldt Park. There have been some interesting additions recently, just a few blocks from the park.
Cocktails on tap and elegant lamb tartare are two things I thought I'd never see near this quiet corner of Chicago Avenue in Humboldt Park. But Bar Marta is trying to change perceptions of the neighborhood.
"The biggest challenge for us in this place - in this neighborhood at least - is to find a way to kind of recreate what we did with the Hogsalt group in a different area of town," said chef Jeff Pikus.
Pikus comes from fine dining, but here he's simplifying. That tartare is topped with Spanish olives and caper leaves, plus a rich egg yolk, ideal for mixing up and slathering on grilled bread. Raw salmon is dressed in bright citrus and olive oil, plus tiny shards of Fresno chiles and fresh chives.
A vegetable crudite is ideal for sharing: carrots, beets, fennel - whatever is seasonal - can all be dipped into buttermilk cottage cheese. All of the pastas, meanwhile, are made by hand.
"The garganelli is made with a herb puree so it's got a green color - like grassy, herb puree - and then hand-rolled, done with a pork ragu with some chicken liver that we fold in at the end," Pikus said. "We're doing some classic cocktails, old fashioned on tap, we're doing a negroni on tap as well, but yeah just pretty classic stuff in terms of the drink list."
So Bar Marta is one of the reasons Chicago is such a great eating city. You've got classically-trained chefs who've brought their skills and their devotion to the highest quality ingredients to a neighborhood that previously didn't have that many great options.
The restaurant is closed Sundays and Mondays, and for now, it's open for dinner only.
2700 W Chicago Ave