We got off to a good start with herbed, crispy pull-apart monkey bread and an excellent arugula salad with pear, crunchy slices of sunchoke, cheddar, and a sparingly applied red-wine vinaigrette. Things went downhill when the poutine arrived, though. I hadn't wanted to order it in the first place: I'd never had it before (I don't think the version with bamboo worms I tried a couple years ago really counts). And my coworker Mike Sula's well-documented disdain for the Canadian dish didn't make me eager to start. But the waitress told us that poutine was highlighted on the menu because it's their most popular dish, and my friend wanted it. She's generally a fan, and assured me that this was a particularly poor specimen, with not enough gravy or salt, and oddly lean-tasting short rib. The cheese curds were fried, which meant that they didn't meld with the fries—and the little gravy there was managed to make them soggy along with the fries.
Things just got more puzzling from there. Semolina gnocchi, served in little blocks that looked a lot like polenta, were accompanied by oddly acidic creamed spinach, a flavor that didn't play well with the funkiness of the mushrooms in the dish. Our side of brussels sprouts arrived after the other dishes, but it didn't much matter because we weren't very tempted to eat more than a couple: the sprouts had been halved and deep-fried, and the only discernible flavor was an unpleasant bitterness. "I've never seen brussels sprouts prepared this way," my friend said. "Now I know why."
Little Market Brasserie, 10 E. Delaware, 312-640-8141, littlemarketbrasserie.com