Friday, April 1, 2016

Trattoria Mercatto at Toronto's Eaton Centre

Mercatto's emphasis on simplicity, authenticity and quality has served them well. Consistently reliable food and personable, well trained and knowledgeable staff ensures a satisfying dining experience every time. With five restaurants in the city, Trattoria Mercatto at Toronto's Eaton Centre is urban and sophisticated, featuring an industrial-chic aesthetic, similar to what one might expect to find in the Distillery District or the new revolution of post-industrial restaurants in Vancouver's hip Gastown neighbourhood. Designed by Munge Leung, vintage bar stools and custom designed butcher block tables provide casual bar-style dining, while a solid walnut staircase with an oak wine barrel wall display leads up to a mezzanine level with a private dining area that features a long dining table made of antique reclaimed elm doors and cast metal. Trattoria Mercatto’s vintage theme continues through the mezzanine where custom wallpaper displays a collection of old Italian newspaper clippings emphasizing the culture that has inspired the creation of Trattoria Mercatto. The menu, like the interior, is unique to the Mercatto branding, with a more tapas-rich bar menu, expanded Insalate e Antipasti offerings and new Panini section. Ever present are the delicious pizzas, pastas and extensive selection of Italian wines by the glass and the bottle, arguably one the of best values at this price range in the city.

Mercatto's long marble bar with vintage stools that allow for side-by-side eating

The industrial chic interior with butcher block-style tables, 
galvanized metal chairs and funky pendant lighting

A preserve jar with the and crispy Grissini Torinesi 

Our server opening a bottle of Brecciarolo Rosso Piceno Superiore from Le Marche

Full bodied and delicious, the Brecciarolo is made with Montepulciano and Sangiovese grapes

Zuppa di Stagione - Potato and Celeriac Soup

Insalate Missicanza with mixed lettuce, celery hearts and sliced radish in an aged sherry vinaigrette

Margherita Pizza made with fior di latte, fresh basil and San Marzano tomatoes 

Carpaccio di Manzo with brandy crema, grant padano and arugula

Bucatini With Lobster, Tomato & Herbs
Serves 4
Recipe by Chef Doug Neigel, Mercatto; photo Keith Beaty, Toronto Star

2  1 1/2-pound cooked lobsters
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
1 fresh red finger chili, halved, seeded, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup diced canned tomatoes
Salt + freshly ground black pepper to taste
3/4 lb dried bucatini or perciatelli
1/4 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs: parsley, chives, chervil and mint

Working over bowl to catch juices, remove lobster meat from shells. Cut lobster meat into 3/4-inch chunks. Add to the bowl with juices and set aside. In large, deep fry pan, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and chili and cook, stirring, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and simmer 1 minute. Then add the tomatoes, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta according to instructions on package. Place the sauce over medium-low heat and stir in the lobster and its juices. Right before draining the pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Drain the pasta and add to the sauce along with remaining 3 tbsp of oil and herbs. Cook while stirring, until the pasta is well coated, about 1 minute. If the pasta seems dry, moisten with the cooking water to taste. Taste for seasoning and transfer to large platter. Serve immediately.