Chef: Jalinson Rodriguez
Cuisine: Spanish, Tapas
Price: $50-70 per person including tax, tip
Phone: (212) 529-8600
Address: 45 Bond Street, NYC 10012
Hours: Mon-Sun 6pm – 12am
Mercat, which means “market” in Catalan, is a bustling Spanish restaurant and tapas lounge that opened in 2007 by Barcelona native Jaime Reixach. The restaurant seats 90 people over a spacious layout with a bar, private dining area, and open kitchen. I have always been a Spanish tapas lover since I traveled to Madrid and Barcelona in 2007, and from that I have a somewhat lofty goal of trying every (good) tapas restaurant in NYC. This list includes spots serving up traditional tapas like Sala 19 and Flor de Sol, to the fusion-y inventive “modern” tapas you would find at Alta and Casa Mono.
Mercat skews towards the latter, serving up some authentic Catalonian dishes but with a scattering of those Spanish-”inspired” dishes. However, the pork belly watermelon salad I tried there might deviate a bit further (anyone know the origins?). I came here for dinner a few months ago with a large group of friends and enjoyed a fantastic meal. We probably sampled a good third of the menu and found everything exquisite and beautifully presented. Unfortunately, I was less dutiful in taking notes than I usually am and so I have spent a good couple hours trying to identify the dishes in my photos. The menu has altered a bit since then as well so it might not be exactly what we had or what is available… but you get the point. It’s good food. And pretty.
As I look back on these photos 5 months later, my mouth starts to water as I distinctly remember the flavors of my favorite dishes that night. Must try’s: Bombes (fried chicken, beef, pork meatballs topped with aioli), Coliflor (fried cauliflower with a hazelnut aioli), Tuna tartare with pork rinds with avocado, Arros D’anec (bomba rice with duck and orange zest), Fig and Fennel salad, Grilled Cod, and some churros with chocolate dipping sauce for dessert! I didn’t get to try the Fideua Negra, short noodles with sepia in its ink and topped with aioli, but apparently this Catalan comfort dish is a must try by other reviewers.
The food was fantastic, the ambiance was lively (read loud), and the service was satisfactory. The only con was the aforementioned noise level; to speak to anyone on the other end of the table required shouting, which only added to the incredible din. However, I would definitely return but might just try to go on an off night where it might be a little quieter to enjoy a calmer meal.
Bombes: Chicken, Beef and Pork Meatballs topped with Aioli
Bombastic simply fantastic! Yes, now I’m singing that song to myself
Coliflor: Fried Cauliflower with Hazelnut Aioli, Pumpkin Seeds and Fried Leeks
This place really loves its aioli (and I do too). I made my own version at home here.
Tonyina Amb Escabetx: Tuna Tartar with Pork Rinds served on a bed of Avocado
Tuna and avocado is tried and true… and then you throw in some pork rinds and the wow factor shoots off the scale
PLATS / ENTREES
Gambas: Maya Shrimp topped with Garlic and Pimenton Oil
Yao Ming says to “Eat the head!” That’s how you do it right
Botiffara: Housemade Sausage with Butter Beans, Bacon and Pumpkin
Sausage fillings were always a questionable mystery to me… but I found this combination amazing
Cansalada: Berkshire Pork Belly with Watermelon, Caramelized Onion and Orange Marmalade
It didn’t quite live up to expectations. I think I prefer Fatty Crab’s version, or just Co-op’s Watermelon with Jalapeño Tzatziki salad
Grilled Cod with Asparagus, Baby Carrots and Pea puree
Perfectly charred, flaky white fish on a bed of a refreshing veggie puree
Vedella: Grilled Hanger Steak, Cipollini Onions, Fingerling Potatoes, Watercress and La Peral Sauce
Arros D’anec: Bomba Rice with Sliced Duck and Orange Zest
To die for
ARROSSOS / RICE
Amanida de Merdat: Arugula and Fennel salad with dried Figs, Cheese, Apple topped with Walnut and Orange Vinaigrette
Amazing salad flavor combination of sweet and salty and creamy and citrus-y
Esberginia Estofada: Eggplant filled with Escalivada, Sobrassada and Mahon Cheese
Look at that gooey melted cheese… you just can’t go wrong when you stuff eggplants
Mystery Item: Memory blanking… think was a poached egg wrapped in prosciutto with Parmesan shavings on a bed of asparagus? Kind of like this Thomas Keller dish: Roasted Asparagus with Poached Egg and Prosciutto
POSTERS / DESSERTS
Xurros Amb Xocolata: Homemade Churros served with chocolate
Yum so good. One of my favorites next to the churros at Five Points
Soufle de Xocolata: Chocolate Souffle with toasted Almond Ice Cream
Toasted almond ice cream is key
Think this was okay, have had better
I love drizzle plating! I’m so easy to please