Dena Marino's Mercato Disappoints
The employee at Dena Marino's Mercato was busy. He played on his iPhone, filled out his W-4 form, and stared diligently into open space. He did not want to be interrupted. So I left the Design District breakfast and lunch spot with a few unanswered questions.
Emily Codik Chopped veggie salad at Mercato ($9).
Could you refill the napkin-holder next time? It was empty. Would you apologize to those customers? You know, the infuriated couple who paid for a red velvet cupcake that you completely forgot to pack? (Even though it was one of the two things they had ordered.) When they returned to the quiet café and demanded their cupcake, their irritated jabbering really put a damper on my meal.
Is food always packed automatically in to-go cartons? No one told me this was a takeaway café. When a refined restaurant, owned by the same folks, is located in the same space, why was my $35 lunch served in flimsy cartons and pesky plastics?
Emily Codik Cubano sandwich ($12)
Sure, the Cubano sandwich ($12) -- stuffed with shaved porchetta, thin slices of prosciutto cotto, gooey Swiss cheese, sliced Brooklyn Brine pickles, and Dijon dressing ($12) -- was delectable. Smothered in a delicate orange-basil dressing, the chopped veggie salad had the potential to be one of my go-to lunches. Sprinkled with chickpeas, zucchini, celery, carrots, and red peppers, the salad felt like a steal with its $9 price tag.