I’ve been wanting to try Mercato for years. I was hesitant to book a table because everyone I knew kept telling me that Mercato was very pricey. I’m usually leery of expensive restaurants because with higher prices come greater and perhaps (my) unrealistic expectations. After consulting with my ex-neighbour, a wine distributer and overall man with excellent taste, I decided to book my birthday dinner at Mercato. I went with my childhood bestie, Beep Beep, as my husband had to work late that night.
Our server that night was Mike. A long time professional server at Mercato, he impressed us with his recommendations of wine and his thoughtful suggestions for food. Throughout the night, we sipped on lovely glasses of white, then red and then tasted some dessert wines. I wish I wrote down the names of the glasses we tried but I couldn’t catch the pronunciation of the wines we sampled. If we were at a pub, I would do what I normally do, point at the menu and say, “That one?”.
We ordered the Caprese Salad ($23), Gnocchi ($17), and Bistecca ($49). The portions were big enough that we took home some of the steak and gnocchi for my husband. Of the bunch, my favourite dish was the gnocchi.
The caprese salad was worth the price. I really enjoyed the mixture of toasted pine nuts, various tomatoes, and the smokiness of the eggplant. The fresh buffalo mozzarella and olive oil was killer. The temperature of all the ingredients was perfect. Cool but not too chilled.
The 20-ounce steak was cooked to a medium rare. The meat was juicy and tender. I did find the steak to be a fatty cut. Beep Beep and I liked the addition of citrus we got from squeezing the grilled lemons all over the steak and arugula. We didn’t find the steak or any of the other dishes over-salted like other reviewers on Zomato and Yelp. I noticed the salt for our steak was served on the side.
The potato gnocchi was out of this world good. I tried gnocchi before but it never tasted like pillows of perfection. The shaved Reggiano and Romano was plentiful and added a luxuriousness to every bite.
Beep Beep insisted on ordering tiramisu. The dessert was large, not too sweet, and light. I would have preferred a more boozier version, but hey, I am HittingtheSauce. Lately though, I’ve been thinking about changing my blog’s name to HittingtheSack. Old age will do that to you.
I’m also glad Mercato finally put up their menu with prices on their website. I won’t set foot inside a restaurant until I know if I can afford it. Yes, Mercato is spendy but the food was delicious, the portions ample, and the service was excellent. If I had an expense account or didn’t care about having a retirement plan, I would eat here every week. Thank you bbf, for taking one restaurant off my bucket list.