Restaurants »Mercat

mercatThis was a reservation I was looking forward to with glee. A new, well reviewed tapas restaurant right near my office and I couldn't wait to try it, though I did have to wait three weeks to get a reservation (note: if you come early enough, before 8, you can probably just walk in).

The meal began with two exceptional dishes; a large plate of the most amazing Serrano ham I have ever tried, so good, the $14 price tag was immediately forgiven; and the surprise highlight of the evening: toasted bread with olive oil and tomatoes. I don't know how they elevated such simple ingredients into such an lofty culinary experience, but I guess it goes to show, sometimes simpler is better.

The meal took a slight bump at the next course, potatoes with alioli. Part of the problem was my own expectations, I was imagining a potato salad with garlic much like the small dish I've had at other Spanish places, but what we got was a mix between home fries and french fries with a spicy sauce smeared all over it. I would not order this again as it brought an unpleasant heaviness to the meal. That being said, we ate the whole plate, because hey, fried potatoes taste good even if they aren't worth writing home about.

Next we tried the razor clams, a favorite delicacy of ours. It measured somewhere in the middle of all our razor clam experiences, only failing to measure up for their chewiness. The seasoning was great though and I would order this again.

The last of our savory dishes was the cuddle fish noodle in ink, a plate recommended online in many people's reviews. We found it interesting, tasting of the sea. I personally thought it could have benefited from another flavor to balance the intensity of the fish, but was impressed to be eating something unlike anything I've had before.

The dessert was churros with thick bittersweet chocolate dipping sauce. As you can imagine, this was really tasty.

Mercat is great for a nice evening out, just bear in mind that the bill can add up, so be prepared to just go with it. I would stick to the simpler dishes and avoid the fried selections. Also, as the evening goes on the noise level reportedly becomes unreasonably loud, a small price to pay for a seat at one of the newest dining darlings with a menu as enticing as this one.

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Posted on August 13, 2007

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