A composed salad of honeydew and cantaloupe is filled with a spiced yogurt containing nutmeg, vanilla and sea salt. Then comes the crispy fried serrano ham and the lightly-dressed arugula. You know instantly that this isn't going to be your typical Mother's Day brunch. At Mercat a la Planxa - located in the Blackstone Hotel on South Michigan Avenue - they're offering a three-course brunch, consisting of eight dishes, rather than offer the standard buffet.
"It just gives the guest the chance to enjoy it a little bit slower. And when it's still hot," said chef Cory Morris. "So, we broke it up into three courses. First course, we're going to start off kind of light with a nice melon salad. Some doughnuts with raspberry compote and some flash-fried padron peppers."
For the second course, Morris starts with oily, garlicky shrimp and chilies with simple, toasted bread. It's brunch, so eggs are expected, but his are a little different than the norm.
"We put a little Spanish spin on our eggs Benedict, which is one of the best sellers that we have for breakfast. So, it's a traditional eggs Benedict, but we use a Spanish chorizo instead of ham and top it with a truffle hollandaise," said Morris.
Joining those eggs, a small glass filled with bacon-wrapped dates that have been embedded with almonds; servers pour a creamy blue cheese fondue over them tableside.
"The bacon-wrapped dates, it's like the perfect combination of salty and sweet," Morris said.
The final course features jumbo prawns with garlic and lemon - cooked on la plancha, or flat-top grill - plus a Spanish show-stopper that's great for a crowd.
"We're going to finish off the grand finale with a paella Valencia. Traditional paella Valenciana with a braised chicken, Spanish chorizo, a special rice called calasparra rice that is a traditional rice that they use in all paellas throughout Spain, and top it with some grilled chicken and a fresh salad with artichokes, tomatoes and lemon-garlic vinaigrette," he said.
And if the younger guests don't appreciate a paella or bacon-wrapped dates.. There's also a do-it-yourself pancake bar, where they can whip up some flapjacks for mom.
MERCAT A LA PLANXA
638 S. Michigan Ave.
Here is the Catalan-inspired menu:
- 1st Course
- Melon Con Jamon, compressed melon salad with vanilla yogurt, fried serrano, and arugula
- Pimientos de Padrón, Padrón peppers with salbitxada sauce
- Donas de Xocolata, chocolate brioche doughnuts with raspberry compote
- Mercat Eggs Benedict, with grilled chorizo, truffled hollandaise, poached egg, and toasted brioche
- Gambas al Ajillo, garlic shrimp with guindilla chiles
- Datiles con Almendras, bacon-wrapped dates with Marcona almonds and La Peral fondue
- Paella Valenciana, chicken and chorizo paella topped with artichoke and tomato salad
- Prawns a la Planxa, jumbo prawns with garlic, lemon, and parsley
Kids can make a gift for Mom at the build-your-own pancake station, which includes various toppings such as fresh fruit, compotes, whipped cream, sprinkles, and assorted candies.
$35 per person, exclusive of beverage, tax, and gratuity