recently some friends and i went to mercado, probably looking more forward to the fresh baked breads than anything. wow, we didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into! we walked into the stark, modern building and were instantly hit with a satiating aroma coming from the bakery downstairs. it was almost 8pm and they were still cranking out their delicious goods. we sat, had our wine opened (it’s b.y.o., for now) and browsed the somewhat limited but delectable looking menu. while we took our time deciding, gorgeous little rolls were sent over. we tasted a traditional sourdough, chocolate chip (would pair marvelously with a latte on a sunday morning), an everything type and a whole wheat option. all were very tasty, especially when dipped in the red pepper / chili oil served on the side. if that weren’t enough to whet our appetites, the kitchen then sent out some fried sage and some sort of spicy green pepper, um-hmm.
we decided to start with pickeled sardines. i expected a brackish type dish you’d normally find but these were light and packed with tangy citrus flavor. the sardines were followed up with a warm mushroom salad, mercado’s version of fried mozzerella (but much more delicious) and some stuffed peppers. all were mouthwateringly amazing.
for dinner we stuck with the seafood options (good friday friendly). the scallops were caramelized on the top and bottom, then tender and billowy after the first bite. they also had an olive tapenade type puree served along side. mmm, i’m smiling just thinking about it! after that, our seafood paella was full of distinctive saffron flavor and each of the mussels, shrimp, clams and scungilli were cooked to tender perfection.
we ordered a few desserts but the chocoloate pain perdu was the best by far. it was served atop chocolate consume and was complimented with a velvety dollop of cream and a milk chocolate straw. this lavish dish proved a perfect ending.