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MERCATO.....Bueno ??

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MERCATO.....Bueno ??

Newgirlintown | May 21, 2005 12:43 PM

Famous lines....
Man cannot live by bread alone...
It's like deja vu all over again...
All roads lead to Rome......

To that I add...
"One cannot judge a restaurant after 48hrs of operation.."
HOWEVER, went with the girlies again last night since the weather sucked all day and was a perfect BYO..cosy evening.

So here is the skinny/411/dealio.......on MERCATO..!

Again I say DAY2 of operation so this report may be entirely meaningless.

ATMOSPHERE :
Exquisite, oodles and noodles of charm, very cosy, minimalist chic but warm. It's sort of like SALT meets AUDREY CLAIRE.
Very charming efficient staff, even the requisite cute Asian hostess.
Goooooood Stemware.
Had a Rocchioli Sauvignon Blanc and Merry Edwards Pinot Noir both from the russian River valley.

I liked the fact that they asked "Is Ice water OK ?" as opposed to hard selling bottled water.

Plates were cleared very efficiently, great attentiveness in the dining room.

THE CHOW:

3 First courses.

A cheese plate with 3 cheeses.
An outstanding truffled Caprino
A Pecorino Toscana
Gorgonzola Dolce Latte
Pure perfection, well selected aged cheeses at proper temp.

A tomato Mozzarella salad that was rather unspectacular, nothing groundbreaking but still it can bee an amazing dish if the tomatoes are ripe and seasoned and standard mozzarella is replaced with buratta.
Whatever, it was just OK.

Brochettes (skewers) of grilled vegetables, fennel, tomato, zucchini and melon wrapped with proscuitto.
This was in interesting revelation, I have always loved proscuitto and melon but Hot proscuitto and hot melon taste horrible.
Not good.
Served with a mint salad.
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3 entrees.

A pork chop with citrus chive risotto and "Bellini" marmalade...yes you heard right...."Bellini Marmalade".
Pork was perfectly medium, very moist in fact it sems like it was brined, either way, it was skillfully cooked.
Risotto however..........No bueno...!
While it had decent flavor with tiny amounts of a lemony counterpoint, chives were absent.
Also, there are two schools of risotto....

School #1
Risotto that is firm enough to support an entire pork chop thereby making clean presentation.

School #2
Soupy risotto, the Italian way.

I LIKE soupy risotto so I didnt care for it, this is probably more of a personal preference.
Pork chop was "YUGE" as they say in south philly.

Bellini marmalade was just straight up peach or apricot Jam...way too sweet.
Earth to Mercato...change your jam to chutney.
Get rid of the Bellini name, it's cutesy pretense.

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Parmesan encrusted "mojo" shortrib
golden oak mushrooms and white bean ragout
citrus gremolata.

First of all the latin term "Mojo" should never appear in a restaurant that strives to define itself as ITALIAN.
There also was no Mojo flavor. The only plate of food in all Philadelphia that accurately executes the concept of a "mojo" is the LECHON ASADO at Alma of Cuba.

The rib itself was Yuge and braised to sicnenly good dark tendernes but it was counterproductive to put parmesay on it and throw it under the broiler to melt the cheese.....and therby drying out the meat.

Earth to mercato....put your parmesan on a silpat and make a tuile and throw it over your rib.

Citrus gremolata added a nice touch......though I hate menu redundancies with a passion....
Penne pasta
shrimp scampi
Aged balsamic
citrus gremolata
shiitake mushroom
veal demiglace

ect ect.....not to digress
But probably that was the best dish, beans and shrooms were tasty.
Although a winter dish but thanks to the aforementioned sucky weather, it was perfect.
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Pasta Special...........(Market Price)

Market price ?????????????????????
Why ?????????????????????
It isnt fish or lobster....!!!!!!!!!!

The DISH :
Ricotta tortellini with porcini cream, sundried tomatoes,some greens and two pieces of steak.
Ther were two Yuge tortelloni, filling ware unremakable and pasta was too thick which made it that much worse when folded over, i personally detest sun dried tomatoes so I did not care for this dish.
By the way, it was a complete RIPOFF at $24.
Any $24 pasta better be blanketed with truffles or Bottarga.
I hate when restaurants gouge on specials, turned out to be the worst and most expensive dish of the evening.
__________________________________________________________________

THEY HAVE ONLY BEEN OPEN FOR 2 DAYS.

OVERALL :

The front of the house gets a, A-
Kitchen gets a C.
Food needs work, a lot of it.
Both Raddichio and Melograno are way better.
I think in its attempt to be creative, Mercato is shooting itself slightly in the foot.
The room is awesome, and the sood just needs to catch up.
Would I go back ?

Heck Yeah......................In JULY.

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