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Merkato 55 Opens Tonight — and Here’s a Sneak Preview of the Food

Twenty-five kinds of kodogo, or African meze, hit the city tonight at Merkato 55.
Twenty-five kinds of kodogo, or African meze, hit the city tonight at Merkato 55. Photo: Melissa Hom


Merkato 55 is only a few hours from opening, and it has been covered from nearly every angle except the most interesting one: What will the “Pan-African” food we’ve been hearing about actually look like? These first images of some of what will be Merkato’s signature dishes represent chef Marcus Samuelsson’s vision, as executed by chef Andrea Bergquist. So what should we get, we asked Bergquist? Her answer was direct: “Start off with the kodogo bar. It’s something special that you’re not going to find anywhere else in New York: 25 different small bites from the continent of Africa. It’ll be like a trip around Africa — or, at least, we hope so.” We hope so, too.

From left, African breads; lamb with east African spices.
From left, African breads; lamb with east African spices. Photo: Melissa Hom

Doro wat: “It’s very traditional. Two Ethiopian women taught us how to make it. Involves pounds and pounds of onions stewed out for hours.”.Photo: Melissa Hom

Merkato 55 Opens Tonight — and Here’s a Sneak Preview of the Food