Good value at Merge
Went to Merge's (W. 10th St) "Sopranos style Italian dinner" last night, and despite the persnickety host and a bartender full of attitude, we enjoyed the meal. For $25, it was a great value--so much food. Here's a listing of what we ate (what I remember at least): A rice ball, mussels, eggplant, asparagus, mozz & tomato, salami & provolone, prosciutto & melon, calamari, frittata, peppers, mushrooms, caesar salad, rigatoni, platter of meatballs, sausage, and braciola, and cheesecake. We were plesantly surprised by the quality--definitely not the assembly-line Italian we half expected. They only do this Sunday nights, before the Sopranos, and I believe that the chef has his mother from Brooklyn in to cook that night. Oh, and I might add that our waiter was very pleasant--a stark contrast to the welcome we received in the front of the house.
Interesting you mention that--my sister also wasn't crazy about their regular menu (I hadn't eaten there before)and enjoyed the "Sopranos" night much more. It's hard to do better at $25 a pop.
Fortunately you can come in your own garb! And you'll be surprised at how un-Sopranos-like the patrons are. (I was).
I was there last night for Sopranos night. Definitely got attitude with the host. "Reservations?," he sniffed, even though it was 4:15pm and it was 2 of us. After a walk through the empty dining room he led us to a delightful table in the corner. I expected the place to begin filling up around 5 or 6, based on his assessment, but there were still plenty of banquet (sp?) tables available at 6 when we left.
Food was decent, but the main course of rigatoni and meat sauce way too salty. Not impressed for $28 plus $2 for coffee with your dessert - we're at $30.
dinner a couple of nights ago at merge, 142 w 10. Good crispy bread. Apps: Fried oysters, really good (on the same scale as Rodriquezs, when he made them at Patria). Grilled guinea hen tasted a little weird, maybe I just couldnt identify the fruit with it. Mains: I had roasted cod. The fish was good quality, but the dish was spoiled bec of fussiness. Accompanying the fish: cabbage in cream sauce, very oily, garlicy potato chips, bits of fruit/beets of some sort, and oh, yes, bacon. Way too much. I only had a tiny taste of the duck, but it had a rather unpleasant tinge. Fruit again? Im wondering if this is the same as the staleness that aardvark mentioned?
I have to concur with previous poster re puzzling reservation process. I called up asking for a reservation for 7 PM same day. The guy, went, "em, em ..sigh, sigh" He gave the impression it was chock-a-block, followed by "yeah OK". We turned up and there were two diners in the place, and by the time we left it was about half-full.
If you go, think about taking a torch. My oysters came on a bed of sea salt and pepper corns. I nearly ate a forkful.
Moderately priced. AmEx and cash only.