It's a New Year. Time for a new continent.
Introducing Merkato 55, chef Marcus Samuelsson (Aquavit) and nightlife vets Kyky and Unik's (PM) Pan-African fusion resto, opening Wednesday in the MPD.
Based on Samuelsson's revelatory food trip to Africa, Merkato is the latest multi-story continent-defining food temple run amok. Walk into the lively first floor and you'll immediately notice the Mali-inspired clay bar with shelves for the house-infused spiced rums. Start with a drink and a plate of hummus and dips at one of the communal tables before heading up the wrought iron stairs to the more formal dining room. Upstairs, the décor is a tribute to the faces and colors of Africa: Portraits printed on large silk screens, hanging basket lamps and brown and yellow leather banquettes all color the bright space.
Adding to the celebratory international feel is a soundtrack mixing African beats and world music (your opportunity to move past Ladysmith Black Mambazo). And just in time for Fashion Week, a downstairs lounge will open with a stone well in the center of the room.
Which is sure to be the best African lounge with a stone well in the MPD.