CITY EATS: Mercado on Kent
By Erin OKeefe, February 20th, 2012
Adding to the burgeoning waterfront area on Kent Ave, Mercado on Kent, has moved in to give Brooklynites and those willing to cross the bridge a taste of the Basque region of Spain. Set in a 6,000 square foot, industrial feeling space that incorporates reclaimed wood, galvanized metal and marble tile, one is instantly warmed by the wood burning ovens seen from the dining area. If the wood burning ovens is a feast for the eyes, the fresh bread baking downstairs is an olfactory delight. Once seated the diner is handed a basket of breads baked on premises by Master Artisan Baker Johnny Peralta, Balthazar veteran. The red pepper dipping sauce is a perfect complement to each bread.
Chef, Mikal Trevino, helms from Bilbao, Spain and incorporates his native tastes into small and large plates. Most of the dishes have a clean, refreshing feeling the only miss is in the bland fried croquettes. The small plate selection covers a wide variety of tastes. I was blown away by an octopus plate having never been a fan of octopus previously. The tart anchovy dish was balanced by sweet fried plantains and the mushroom salad with Swiss chard is a pleasant and easy bite. The large plates feature a scallop plate with an incredible mixture of pine nuts, garlic, raisins and Arbequina olive purée. The pork belly dish served with baby back ribs, brussels sprouts and apple compote is a solid and delicious staple.
Big plans are on the horizon for this space. Looking forward returning to visit a retail space and a Pintxo selection of Basque specialties at the bar.
Mercado on Kent is located at 291 Kent Avenue @ South 2nd Street in Williamsburg. The restaurant is closed Mondays and will serve dinner Sunday, Tuesday & Wednesday from 5:30 pm – 10:00 pm; late night menu till 11:30 pm and Thursday, Friday, Saturday from 5:30 pm – 12:00 am, late night menu served till 1:30 am.