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Apr 8, 2010 03:47 PM

Casual Between Downtown and Design District

Anything new or old and recommended?

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  1. Working my way in a northerly direction ->
    Bin 18.
    Sakaya Kitchen.

      1. I would add Five Guys Burgers and Fries into the mix although there's no way I could step foot into the Midtown location with Sakaya Kitchen next door...

        I've had some good to very good sandwiches at another The Cheese Course location but I suspect their product is identical.

        Sugarcane Raw Bar may fall into the casual equation if you go for lunch and/or happy hour in the outside bar/patio area

        1. Mercadito may fall in this category as well, though I have yet to hear any reports on it.

          5 Replies
          1. re: mikek

            I went to Mercadito this past weekend. I had a 10p reservation and arrived at 1005. The hostess said they were preparing my table. 15 minutes went by and I questioned them again and waited some more. The place was mobbed. We were seated 49 minutes late. When they realized I'd had a reservation, they comped my table a round of margaritas which came minutes after we were seated. We had 6 plates of tacos and the waiter comped us a 7th one. He was a good guy and very upbeat even though the restaurant was getting bombed. The food was really good. Flavors of each taco were distinct. The Mexican corn was OK. The waiter also "wanted us to have the guacamole trio" and I thought it was OK as well. I didnt order it but I didnt mind when it appeared on the bill later. We'd been more than taken care of and I'm pretty sure the vegetarian in our party really appreciated the guac. Despite a somewhat rough start, the staff consistently aimed to please and it ended up a good experience. The food was good, not mind blowing, a tad expensive, but good.

            1. re: Blind Mind

              I need to pay another visit before forming an opinion on Mercadito (I was there opening weekend) but a few initial impressions: (1) the different guacamoles all pretty much tasted the same; (2) I was flabbergasted to the point of nearly throwing a tantrum that tacos must be ordered 4 at a time and you cannot mix and match at all; (3) "good but not mind blowing" would be right on target for my assessment of the tacos; (4) service was just barely on the right side of the line between helpful and pushy (a delicate balance I'll admit).

              1. re: Frodnesor

                Agreed on the guac all pretty much tasting the same. I think the 4 tacos, no mix/match has to do with the fact that they are small and it would be pretty hard to prepare product for just one taco without having a lot of waste at the end of the night. Heck, that's why I eat out a lot because cooking for one just doesnt work.

                1. re: Blind Mind

                  If Orale taco stand can make me one of each taco I'd like, I think Mercadito can handle it.

                  The mise en place for all of the tacos is prepared in advance for hundreds of orders. 90% of the prep is done in advance, other than frying fish or grilling steak it's basically just assembly.

                  1. re: Frodnesor

                    And you can get a trio of guacamoles, which probably need to be made from scratch to prevent the avocado from browning, but a no-no on the tacos. I agree, it makes no sense.