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Mercat Introduces Iron Chef Mondays

Have you ever wanted to be on the tasting panel for Iron Chef America? You might finally get your chance. Mercat a la Planxa's very own Iron Chef Jose Garces will reveal his "succulent variations" on a rotating list of theme ingredients from the show for lunch and dinner every Monday, starting April 4. And, best of all, there won't be any creepy chairman watching you eat.

Garces, who also owns seven restaurants in Philadelphia, earned his title and a spot on Iron Chef America in late 2009. He's gone on to win three-fourths of his battles, and those winning dishes will now be on primetime at Mercat.

Each menu's secret ingredient, which must somehow be the focus in every course, will be revealed a few days in advance via Twitter. Follow @mercatchicago to keep up.

The first menu, available April 4 and 11, will feature Mexican chocolate, highlighting the dishes Garces created to defeat challenger Julian Medina. In the episode, Garces floored the judges with his fourth course: a waffle topped with, in the chef's words, "a traditional Mexican snack..." of grasshoppers.

We'll be interested to see if the Chicago kitchen makes the jump to include them in the prix fixe, which will feature the following dishes:

· First Course: Kobe beef tartare and beet tartare
· Second Course: Mexican chocolate linguine with smoked duck
· Third Course: Mexican chocolate tamale and Mexican chocolate Iberian pork loin
· Fourth Course: Canela waffle with Mexican chocolate sauce
· Fifth Course: Mexican chocolate atole and doughunts filled with chocolate

The Monday-only menus will be available for lunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for $16.95 and dinner from 5 p.m to 10 p.m. for $34.95.

Mercat a la Planxa

638 South Michigan Avenue, , IL 60605 (312) 765-0524 Visit Website

Mercat a la Planxa

638 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60605

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