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Hogsalt and Alinea Alums Step Out with Bar Marta

The Humboldt Park spot has been quietly doing its thing since November.

Mussels and clams at Bar Marta   Photo: Allan Perales

After an intentionally quiet opening early last month in the former NXXT Restaurant & Bar space, Bar Marta (2700 W. Chicago Ave., 773-697-4489) is ready for its close-up.

The team reads like a who’s who of Alinea and Hogsalt Hospitality alums, with former Hogsalt director Austin Baker at the helm, former Alinea chef de cuisine Jeff Pikus working the kitchen, and Christina Carrera leading the bar, just as she did at Hogsalt hot spot Au Cheval. Baker says the crew wanted to get away from the high-mindedness of what they were doing before, and the result is “magical.”

Baker calls the cuisine eclectic American with a lot of Italian and Asian ingredients creeping into the mix—but don’t expect to find any burgers or pizza on the menu. Instead, the Humboldt Park spot offers up dishes such as cheese gnocchi with lamb sausage and rapini pesto ($15), handmade in house with milk from local 1871 Dairy and lamb from Catalpa Grove Farm—a dish Baker says he’s in love with.

While you can snag a meal for two for $25, you can also up the tab with the addition of black Burgundy truffles ($10 for five grams) to any dish—even the $5 fries. For dessert, there’s Eton mess ($8), which lives up to its name with a combination of soft whipped cream, crunchy meringue, and fresh berries folded together. If getting messy isn’t your thing, though, you could test the bar with an Absinthe Minded (Bank Note scotch and Carpano Bianco) or an old fashioned on draft (both options $10).

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