Michelle Bernstein must be feeling the heat. Last year, just a few months after the James Beard Award-winning chef closed her acclaimed restaurant Sra. Martinez, Dena Marino made her debut in the Design District with MC Kitchen, a fine-dining establishment serving craft beers and delectable Italian cuisine.
Marino became the new queen of the fashionable nabe.
Now, Marino has launched Mercato, a casual breakfast and lunch spot that opened February 10 adjacent to her upscale restaurant. With a menu focused on pastries and sandwiches, it looks like Bernstein's Crumb on Parchment has some new competition.
"Mercato is simply quick Italian modern cuisine for the modern Miamian," Marino says. "We truly felt that the Design District was lacking a great, quick on-the-go breakfast and lunch spot. There are so many businesses and young professionals in the area, and we wanted to cater to their busy lifestyles by providing fast, fresh food."
Menu options include an oven-roasted turkey sandwich with Swiss cheese, fruited mostarda, and local arugula on a multigrain baguette ($10), as well as "pressatas" -- pressed sandwiches -- such as the Cuban, with shaved porchetta, prosciutto cotto, melted Swiss, pickles, and Dijon dressing on a ciabatta roll ($12). Mercato also proffers salads ($9 to $11) and a soup of the day ($6).
The café serves Lavazza coffee. Market items are also available, including Marino's private-label Super Tuscan extra-virgin olive oil, Hey Boo coconut jams, and Dogfish Head beers.
"We offer the same delicious and high-quality cuisine found at MC Kitchen but scaled down for the Miamian on-the-go with items like baked goods, sandwiches, pressed sandwiches, salads, frittatas, soups, and so much more," she says.
MC Kitchen-level cuisine for less than $15? Sounds good.
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Mercato is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Follow Emily on Twitter @EmilyCodik.