A Farewell Lunch Cheered Up By Mercato’s Lobster Pyramid Pasta
While deciding where to take my roommate for her final lunch in Philly before moving back to Hawaii, we remembered that Mercato recently started lunch service. The promise of fancy pasta, outdoor seating, and the BYO policy was too good to resist and certainly worth the few dollars more per dish than the typical Midtown Lunch. With 235 reviews on Yelp, Mercato is a popular dinner spot. Reservations are only taken for early bird seating so the wait can sometimes be painful. This makes lunch the perfect time to go.
Our first appetizer was the antipasto plate ($9). We picked on olives, cured meat, marinated vegetables, and cheese spread topped crostini. Everything was top quality and perfect for our group to share.
The grilled artichoke appetizer is certainly tasty, especially with the citrus aioli dipping sauce, but $7.50 for one artichoke is a little high of a mark up. Even acknowledging this was a special occasion and not my typical cheap ass lunch, our first appetizer was less offensively priced.
Picking an entree was really really easy. A few years ago I had dinner at Mercato and remember going crazy over their lobster and shrimp pyramids. I was so jazzed to see they included it on the lunch menu. This was also the most expensive lunch item at $12. The 3 pieces of pasta is not very many (I believe the dinner portion has 5), but somehow it was enough food. Inside the delicate pyramid shaped pasta was a luxurious mixture of ricotta, lobster, and shrimp. The richness was balanced by the acid in the lemon and brown butter sauce, the vegetal flavor of the asparagus, and the nuttiness of the sprinkling of pine nuts. The pasta was so amazing in fact, I think my roommate was almost convinced to stay in Philly so she could eat it again.
Though no dish could outshine my pyramids, the mushroom panini delivered concentrated mushroom flavor highlighted by truffle and pesto. For $10 the sandwich comes with a side salad and officially meets the Midtown Lunch budget.
The salad of the day was less impressive, consisting mostly of parsley and butter beans.
Now Mercato is sneaky and fails to put prices on their website, so I snapped a picture of the menu for ya. Though us late risers got to lunch a little after the prime lunch time hours, Mercato was completely empty. I wouldn’t be surprised if lack of lunch time business makes them rethink continuing a lunch service. Just in case- you better get over there for some lobster pasta at 1/2 the dinner price while you still can!
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- A chance to dine on fancy pasta for prices much lower than their dinner service
- Lobster stuffed pasta!
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- One artichoke for $7.50 is way way steep
Mercato, 1216 Spruce St, 215 985 2962