Thursday, November 3, 2016

Locale Mercatto on Bay: Getting Back to Basics

Located on Bay Street in the heart of the Financial District, Locale Mercatto, is the newest venue from owners Jack and Domenic Scarangella of Toronto’s popular Mercatto Italian-inspired restaurants. Cold and minimalist with white tiled walls, stainless steel accents and blood red floors, the industrial-inspired space was recently completely renovated transforming the original Mercatto on Bay into an infinitely more laid-back uber-casual eatery with an adjacent take-out counter and its own menu. Unfortunately, gone are the funky chandeliers, soft lighting, candlelit tables and inviting warm woody interior. The menu has also been overhauled. Rosticceria, braceria, paste, piccolo piatti and sharing plates such as Arancini, Polpetti, Crispy Calamari and Niagara Pingue Prosciutto, are on the new menu created by Executive Chef Doug Neigel, with new chef de cuisine Rob Craig, previously Executive Chef at Café Nervosa, in the kitchen day-to-day. With a focus on local produce, quality meats, Famiglia Baldassarre handmade pastas and sustainable seafood, the new menu also features dishes such as Newfoundland Fogo Island Cod, Raw BC Shrimp Crudo, Taglierini di Mare with lobster, shrimp and fennel pangrattato, plus their popular Short Rib & Brisket Burger with smoked scamorza, bomba hot sauce and frites. As chef Neigel says, "Sometimes it's great to go back to the basics." Sometimes not.

Executive Chef Doug Neigel

The new menu of Locale Mercatto

2013 Tiberio Pecorino 

Niagara Pingue Prosciutto with Parmesan and warm Gnocco Britto

Crostone with ‘nduja and rapini on grilled sourdough

8 oz Kansas City Black Angus Strip Loin with crispy Brussels Sprouts

Yukon Gold Frites with Truffle Crema

1/2 Rotisserie Chicken with Carrot and Cabbage Slaw

Roasted Wild Mushrooms with Fried Garlic

Pine Nut Tart with Mascarpone Gelato and Custard 

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.

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