Posts Tagged With: Mercato NYC

Mercato – a Diamante in the Rough

Mercato Trenette

I was never so eager to write a “Next Post” after that last one.  But work, and a vigorous Sexual Harassment training were in the way.

What do Hell’s Kitchen, Staten Island, and Brooklyn have in common? A mafia filled history, and a lot of mediocre Italian food.  Coincidentally, these are the 3 places I spend the most time in due to work and marriage constraints!  But as Bob Dylan taught us “Times They are a-Changin”  That’s right, changin without a “g” at the end.  In the case of Hell’s Kitchen, there’s still a lot of mediocre Italian food to entertain the theater goers.  But the last few years a few diamond in the rough spots emerged, biggest being Mercato on 9th and 39th.

Mercato NYCAvid followers of EWZ (both of them) already know all about this Hell’s Kitchen treasure.  Mercato (means Market in Italian) is as authentic as it gets in NYC.  Here’s why…

1) Owners from Puglia, chef from day one is Sardinian, and every waiter is Italian.  Yes, every single one.  And if I may say, all being Italian, fairly good looking bunch as well.  I dont go here for this particular reason, but perhaps a sense of belonging got something to do with it!

2) The menu is jam packed with Sardinian, Sicilian, Pugliese specialties (more on that later)

3) Italians love coming here.  I’ve heard Italian spoken here by diners on every single visit.

4) Inside it just feels like a rustic Trattoria in Florence (and Ive been to plenty of those)

5) One of these is usually parked next door

Mercato - Bread

I’ve been to Mercato about 10 times since my first time 6 months ago.  I’ve taken friends, co-workers, family, family of co-workers (not an affair, just fooling around!) and I feel very comfortable recommending it on the boards.  There’s nothing really outrageous about the food.  Its simple, honest, and true to the regions of South Italy.  While there are all sorts of goodies on the menu I come here primarily for the Primis (pasta/gnocchi)…

Spaghetti with fresh tomatoes, garlic & basil – Like on a first date, before meeting the parents and answering “am I fat” questions 20 years later, you may want to take the core product for a spin.  This is a very passable basic Spaghetti dish with profound freshness all around.  As with many of the dishes on the menu, everything is homemade

spaghetti

Homemade Trenette with almonds, garlic, tomato and basil (top picture) – Possibly my favorite pasta here. Simple, intense flavors, and at $12 the best price/taste ratio.  You will simply not find this anywhere else

Gnocchi in beef and pork ragu – Another one of my favorites.  The gnocchi are wonderfully chewy, pillowy, and on the small side.  It looks like its swimming in sauce but its firm enough to soak in just the right amount of the meat ragu.  And what meat ragu it is!

Gnocchi

Orecchiette pasta with broccoli rabe, anchovies, bread crumbs, garlic and olive oil – A Pugliesi without an Orecchiette dish is like Roman without Carbonara.  Its very simple, if you like anchovies get it.  If you dont, dont.

Orechiette

Fave E Cicoria – Its the Pugliesi Hummus.  Popular especially in the winter months.  Purée of fava beans, chicory, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Deliciously salty and quite good

Mercato - Fave

Pay special attention to the pasta specials here.  Yesterday I had a terrific Cavatelli with spicy short rib ragu.  Same goes for the Fusilli (below) with slow braised pork ragu I’ve enjoyed in the past

Mercato - Fusilli

The one dish I really want to try but always get disrupted by a special is the Malloreddus which is homemade Sardinian cavatelli-like “Gnocchetti” with braised wild boar ragu

I’ve had plenty of other dishes here like the Octopus, Sardines, Tagliata (sliced steak), but chose to highlight the selective ones

Mercato

$$

352 west 39th st

Recommended Dishes: Spaghetti, Trenette, Gnocchi, Fave E Cicoria, Pasta Specials

Mercato - Octopus Mercato

Categories: Midtown West, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

HKSG – The Update

Hell Food5.7 pounds (and counting) and 3 months later it is time to update this beast.  But first a word from our sponsors… oops we have none.  But, I do want to say a few words about this list because it became more popular than the original intent.

This list is not for everyone.  If you are looking for the prototypical pre-theatre dinner where you are nicely dressed, most of these options are not for you.  This list is all about the food, mostly on the casual, cheap side, and mostly really its about what Hell’s Kitchen does best – ethnic food.  If you want to eat at a “Nice” place than I suggest picking a different area.  If you are looking for that special pre-theatre meal and really care about the food than I would suggest looking at places that are not in the area but not too far.  i.e. Betony, Marea, NoMad, The Modern.  You are already spending $300 for a show, surely you can afford a $5 cab fare to add.  Although after a nice long meal, I rather take a nice long walk.

The complete guide is here…

https://eatingwithziggy.com/2013/06/27/the-hells-kitchen-survival-guide/

Here’s whats being added to the guide…

Italian – Mercato.  This is quickly becoming not only my favorite Italian in the area but my favorite restaurant in the area.  I cant quite explain how I missed it all those years.  Truly flavorful, mostly authentic southern Italian dishes like the excellent homemade Trenette with garlic, almonds, tomato and basil.  Check out the simple spaghetti, and the flavor rich gnocchi.  Owners from Sardinia, chef from day 1 from Sicily, good looking all Italian wait staff means I fit right in.

Thai – Larb Ubol.  My favorite is still Pure overall but this new kid on the block is quickly gaining traction.  Larb Ubol is an offshoot of Zabb Elee in the East Village, specializing in authentic Isan cooking.  Like Pure, some of these dishes not for the faint of heart.  Even more so here actually.  If you want your typical American Thai dishes this is not the place.  Go to something like Kare Thai on 10th or Wondee Siam 2 instead.  In Larb Ubol what you get is complex flavors like you never experienced before (unless you did!).  Try the Pad Ped Moo Crob – Crispy pork, thai eggplant, basil, peppercorn, ginger, and spicy curry paste

Ramen – Ippudo Westside.  Perhaps the most exciting HK opening in 2013.  One block away from Totto making HK a NYC Ramen powerhouse.  Just like Totto, this is an experience but quite a different one, starting with all the yelling in Japanese every time a new guest arrives, leaves, a dish on its way, or a guest going to the bathroom. I have no idea what they are yelling but its fun, and after a few minutes you start to yell as well.  Clearly my favorite here so far is the Akamaru Modern, but you must add the egg, and for a little more spice add the spicy miso paste.  Highly recommend this one

Chicken Over Rice Guy – 11th and 51st (Northwest corner).  Every neighborhood has a favorite chicken over rice guy.  This one is mine.  Try the chicken over rice!

Tried a few other new places like Nook…  Feh!

Randon tidbits on existing places…

Szechuan Gourmet 56 – I had my first terrible meal here, followed by an excellent meal.  Keeping it on the list for now but inconsistency will not fly

Gazala’s Place – I’m not big of the Bourekas overall, but the cheese and sun dried tomato Bourekas here is the bomb.  The bomb I tell ya

Sullivan Street Bakery – Quickly becoming one of my favorite breakfast places in the area.   Discovering all kinds of bread goodies lately

Guelaguetza – Spicy chicken burrito is now officially my favorite Burrito in the area.  Readers, its official!

The Complete Guide…

https://eatingwithziggy.com/2013/06/27/the-hells-kitchen-survival-guide/

Categories: Midtown West, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.