The Unfulfilled Promise of the Fall Preview

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merkato 55

Merkato 55: the vanity of human wishes.Photo: Zach Desart

Writers charged with covering the restaurant scene are shackled to an endless news cycle of openings and closings; but what happens in between? Metromix, on the eve of its fall restaurant preview, goes back bravely and looks at last year's future, and the results aren't necessarily pretty. Some restaurants lived up to their billing, like Ko: David Chang will channel a cheaper version of Masa: A limited number of guests will dine on a fixed menu consisting of several courses, with the menu changing regularly, depending on Chang's culinary temperament. Others, not so much, as with 10 Downing: California cool comes to the Village with this market-driven restaurant from the same folks behind 5 Ninth. This new American bistro takes its cue from the California Cuisine movement of the eighties, which emphasized farm-raised ingredients with a fusion flair, only this time chef Scott Bryan (Veritas) puts a Mediterranean spin on things. Subsequently, of course, Bryan bolted and the place still hasn't opened. Looking through the optimism that once lay behind Merkato 55, Bobo, and other ill-fated ventures is enough to depress anyone; its a quick trip from Pangloss to Schopenhauer, and almost almost! dampens our enthusiasm for this year's crop.

Your Table Will be Readyin 11 Months [Metromix]