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Deathwatch: Merkato 55

Kalina, 2/06/08

To be honest, we wanted to Deathwatch this thing when we paid our first visit on opening night. Scratch that, we wanted to Deathwatch Merkato 55 when we first heard the Swedish Sensation himself Marcus Samuelsson, the big name behind the MePa monster, wouldn't be there for the opening. But now that Bruni has given it a disappointing one star, we're prepared to call it out as the doomed shitshow that it really is.

The fact that Samuelsson is hardly in the kitchen and doesn't have much invested in the restaurant besides his name isn't the main issue. The sprawling space looks and sounds more like a club than a sophisticated restaurant, and we have a hard time seeing it as a regular dinner spot for anyone outside of the club-going demographic. That Bruni called out the busboys for pouring water into his wine glass (something that happened no less than 5 times when we were there) shows that the service kinks haven't been worked out in the last two months. When we turn our attention to some reader complaints and the fact that prime resys are incredibly easy to come by, it doesn't look good. We predict the place will be turned into what it should have been from the start— a sexed up and popular Meatpacking District bar with a compelling theme and exotic cocktails.
· All Merkato 55 Coverage [~E~]