Saturday, July 5, 2014

...Mercato (4th Street, Calgary)

Overall - 8.5/10
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Food - 9/10
Service - 7.5/10
Ambiance- 8.5/10
Mercato on Urbanspoon
Sometimes when you go out for a nice meal you just want to get away from the kitchen and have your food brought right to the table without having to trouble your mind with the details of cooking. At Mercato, you get an amazing meal prepared with the freshest of ingredients all while being immersed in the kitchen experience. In my opinion, Mercato has one of the best open kitchens in the city which allows you to see your meal being prepared in front of you eyes without having to get your hands dirty.

A nice touch to the dining experience at Mercato are the warm focaccia bread and cured olives that are served while you look over the menu. The bread was warm fluffy on the inside and crusty on the outside. There was also a nice variety of different green and black olives.
When it comes to cuttle fish we're usually used to having them at dim sum or in chip form, so when we saw it on the menu we had to give it a try. Cuttle fish are like little squids that a bit more tender and flavourful. They were very fresh, lightly batter fried and served with lemon and a thin slice of jalapeño that added the perfect spiciness to the dish.  The only thing that could have been improved was that the cuttlefish was still slightly damp and the batter fell off as soon as you cut into them.
 Our two mains were pretty much the exact opposite of each other but each was delicious in its own way. The huge piece of halibut had a light herb crust and was served with a grilled orange half. The entire dish had really bright flavours from the orange and the halibut was cooked perfectly and very fresh.
 The lamb on the other hand was full of hearty and rich flavours from the roasted chipollini onions and tomatoes and charred leeks. The lamb was balsamic glazed and had just the right ratio of meat to fat. It was cooked to the perfect medium rare and really tender.   
For dessert we chose the cheesecake which was not too heavy or sweet and the fresh blueberries over the top was a nice change of pace from the often times too sweet fruit toppings at other places. 
At the end of the night, were really happy with the food and the open kitchen really added to the dining experience. The prices might have been on the steep side but overall we thought it was well worth it.

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