A couple of weeks after trying out Mercato West, I ended up at Mercato again but this time, it was at their Mission location. Though I’d made reservations ahead of time, we were seated at the bar counter surrounding the open kitchen. I’d been to this Mercato location in the past but had never sat at the bar counter before. I was hoping it would be an interesting experience to watch the chefs in action. As I had expected, the place was really hopping on a Friday evening and every seat in the restaurant was occupied. The menu at the Mission location is fairly similar but not identical to the one at the West location. Their signature dishes such as the Bistecca are always available at both locations.
On this visit, it was just my friend S and I so we had to order judiciously as the portions at Mercato can be rather large and are meant to be shared, family-style. We started out sharing an order of the Carpaccio ($18), which consisted of thinly pounded swordfish along with pea shoots, cipollini, grapefruit supreme and pepe rosa. The swordfish was very delicately flavoured but tasty. I really enjoyed the supremed grapefruit which help to bring acidity and brighten the flavours.
For a pasta dish, we shared a half order of the Tagliatelle ($15 for half; $23 for full order). The Tagliatelle was topped with a classic pomodoro sauce with cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and Parmigiano Reggiano. By chance, I ended up choosing the Tagliatelle again (I tried it just weeks earlier at Mercato West) because our server said that this pasta was the best pairing with the main dish that we had chosen. Again, the pasta was perfectly executed. It was al dente and the flavours were spot on.
For our main course, ideally, I would have wanted to order the Bistecca as that was my favourite dish during my visit to Mercato West. However, since it was just the two of us, that would have been too much food. Hence, we opted for the Ippoglosso ($38), which consisted of pan roasted halibut in a pistachio breadcrumb crust that was served with grilled orange and endive. Personally, I prefer my fish slightly underdone so that it is still moist. In this case, unfortunately, the halibut was cooked all the way through so I actually found it to be a bit on the dry side. I was relieved that we were provided the grilled orange half as we squeezed copious amounts of juice to try to moisten the fish. I’ll be honest to say that I wasn’t particularly fond of this dish and I actually kind of regretted that we didn’t order the Bistecca.
Compared to my experience at Mercato West where we sat at a spacious table, I didn’t really enjoy sitting at the bar counter surrounding the open kitchen. I found the space to be rather cramped and uncomfortable as there was practically no elbow room at all. At various points during our meal, I found myself accidentally bumping into the other diner seated next to me. I wouldn’t mind sitting at the bar if it was during non-peak times or if I was dining alone but during peak times, it didn’t feel relaxing at all as I was consciously trying hard not to bump into the person next to me. Also, I found this Mission location to be rather loud compared to the West location. Though the Mission location is actually more convenient for me after work, I personally prefer the quieter, more spacious West location.
2224 4 St SW