>> Monday, May 3, 2010
Atmosphere: Great little Italian Ristorante with a Trattoria feel, making me reminisce about my time in Italy. Ideal for group gatherings or just a nice dinner out with that special somebody (the attached fresh market is a bonus!).
Price Range: Mid $20s-$30s
Food and Wine: Immediately after opening the menu at Mercato my eye immediately lands on the word gnocchi. I enjoy any type of gnocchi whether they’re made from potato or sweet potatoes, you can guarantee that I’m going to order it (I’ve also made a mental note to post my gnocchi recipe). Since we were sharing our plates and my dining companion mentioned that she preferred bit size portions of pasta, I knew that the gnocchi had to be on the table. At Mercato they served the dish with braised goat and what I believed to be porcini mushrooms, which really gives a contrasting texture to the gnocchi’s doughy-ness and created a great flavor infusion. It would have been lovely paired with a nice cabernet sauvignon, but seeing as it was still brunch time, I guess I’ll just have to go back and try it sometime for dinner!
Our second shared plate was the veal stuffed cannelloni, topped with plenty of mozzarella cheese. For those who know me, know that I’m not entirely a huge cheese fan (I know, gasp! I’ve heard it many MANY times) but I’m willing to try anything at least once (or sixty, in this case) because you never know what you’re missing if you don’t try it. The dish was well flavored, with just enough veal to not overpower the delicate cannelloni pasta, but I have to say that this dish is definitely not for the faint of heart. The cheesiness will overwhelm those who are not prepared, which is why it was a great sharing dish for my companion and I.
My Picks: This one was a no brainer – the goat and porcini mushroom gnocchi
Overall: The portion sizes at Mercato are amazing and you will not leave feeling hungry, plus they’ll always give you more of their yummy complementary bread and olives!
Mercato Italian Gourmet Cultura
2224 4th Street SW