Thursday, March 4, 2010


I’ve wanted to try this restaurant called Mercadito since I hear many rave reviews about the food. Amy, Eugene, Ernie and I had a feast last night! The décor is very stylish with geometric objects hanging on the walls in a patterned design, dim lit lights and warm tones of gold, cream and bronze.

The menu was a little difficult to understand, but after awhile we were able to decipher what was going on. To start, we ordered two guacamoles: tradicional and camote which has cinnamon spiced sweet potato, roasted jalapenos and toasted pumpkin seeds. The camote sounds like it would be very eclectic and different, but it wasn’t anything out-landish. It had a little spicy kick to it and you could taste a hint of the sweet potato, but on the whole it was a slight variation to the tradicional guacamole.

We also ordered two ceviches: camaron (shrimp) and dorado (mahi mahi). Both were excellent and very fresh if you like ceviches. The mahi mahi melted in your mouth. Our appetizers were served with homemade slightly warm tortilla chips and a graham-cracker like flatbread. If you’re a glutoid, avoid the graham-cracker as I am sure gluten is involved.

For the main course, we ordered three taco plates (they come 4 per plate) along with two side vegetables. Since the tacos are plated by fours, it was perfect for the four of us to taste one of each! We had the pastor (pork with grilled pineapple), carne (skirt steak) and pescado (tilapia). Each of the tacos was better than the other, and served with freshly made corn tortillas.

Platanos Machos and Elote Mexicano (Mexican style corn on the cob) were the vegetables of choice. The plantains were deliciously fried with a green sauce that added a little kick. The corn was roasted to perfection with a drizzling of mayo, paprika and maybe some parmesan cheese. Though the mixture sounds kind of disgusting, I assure you that the roasted corn on the cob was a balanced mix of savory and sweet.

After we consumed all of that food, along with wine and beer, we still decided to order two more things… In comes the other pork taco called "carnitas." We also ordered the corn masa quesadillas that had Oaxaca-manghego cheeses, tamarind shrimp, plantain and wild mushrooms. When the dish arrived to our table, we thought the server got the order wrong because they looked like empanadas. She assured us these were the quesadillas, as empanadas would be more triangular than the half-circular quesadillas awaiting. Boy were those quesadillas deee-lish-us! The corn tortilla was so fresh and warm and the mix of plantains and mushrooms with a hint of mild cheeses created an excellent aroma which enhanced the taste on my tongue.

I would highly recommend going, but be sure to make a reservation. Even on a Wednesday night at 6:45pm, the place was hoppin’ and every table filled with jovial young-professionals sharing secrets over flights of guacamole.

Thank you Amy and Eugene for the hands-down the best meal we've eaten in a month!

Mercadito Chicago
108 West Kinzie Street
Chicago, IL 60654-4508
(312) 329-9555

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