It's a rare thing when you can feast and graze for three hours at a restaurant and still enjoy full, helpful and cheery cooperation from the staff. Mercat in the city has always been a favorite spot with myself and friends for such a purpose on birthdays and other special occasions, and the new Mercat Negre Williamsburg location was ideal to celebrate a dear friend's recent visit to the city since moving to LA several months ago. Everything from the drinks to the dessert was great – you can't go wrong ordering – but I'll help?you out with some absolute must haves.
Begin with an array of empanadas, croquettes, and bombas, follow with the fried potatoes with alioli (which are far better than the ones we tried when the Manhattan location first opened), make sure to get the?cod entr?e, the sardines on bread, and please – for your own sake and happiness, do not skip the paella with duck and sausage. It is indescribably delicious – we were scraping the bottom of the dish like starving children.
As for drinks, Death in Spain and Ward Eight were table favorites and we were split on deciding the best dessert – I was crazy about the lemon frappe, that was like the top of a lemon meringue pie but frothier, but there was a lot of support for the toasted bread with chocolate, olive oil & salt.
The location is fairly new, and it works in your favor to get a reservation. It was pretty quiet, even on a Saturday. I hope it stays in business with word of mouth, but I'd hate to forfeit the relative calm of the place and the ease of getting a reservation.