Last July, the celebrated chef Jose Garces teased us with these provocative words about his upcoming contemporary Catalán spot: “Right off the bat, we will be the number one Spanish restaurant in Chicago.” Nine months later, it’s time to prove it. If the looks of the mar i muntanya (slow-cooked short ribs with diver scallops, a shaved Parmesan/ artichoke salad, and eggplant purée; $14) are any indication, we’re ready to believe. Mercat a la Planxa, a 7,500-square-foot restaurant with an abundance of hexagons and every color in the Crayola box, will serve goodies from homemade flatbreads (cocas) to blue bay mussels with tomato and garlic sauce and Espelette frites. It was scheduled to open March 8th, which means it’s time to put some hustle behind those mussels. Blackstone Hotel, 638 S. Michigan Ave.; 312-765-0524 (See “Rooms With Memories”)

Photograph: Tyllie Barbosa