Went to Merkato 55 the other night. Thought it was... good. Very pretty restaurant. Service was terrific. Waitress was extremely friendly and dinner came out quickly.
I would recommend sitting upstairs (we were downstairs). Cooler look up there. Marcus Samuelsson was in the kitchen, and on the floor -c ame over to say hello, which I thought was nice (especially since he wasn't there opening week!)
As for dinner:
Had the assorted African breads. they were good - enjoyed the apple coconut spread. Hummus - thought there wouldn't be enough, but surprisingly deep bowl... or the bread just filled us up!
Had the Yellowtail in a curry citrus dressing as an appetizer. Nicely prepared, lightly spicy. Went well with their version of a margharita. (I had their version of a mojito, which worked out okay, too!)
Main courses: thought about the chicken since I heard so much about it, but instead went for the Venison skewers. Deliciously seasoned, nice chunks of bacon and onion.
My friend went with the snapper wrapped in a banana leaf - again, very citrus and light, with a nice spice.
Didn't have room for dessert - just couldn't do it.
I was expecting more of a kick from the food, but it was all seasoned very well.
the greatest dining experience? No. But I'd go back. It was fun, good crowd, and the food was definitely enjoyable.