Marcona—Schizophrenic and So-So
A friend was on a Spanish tear and had heard about Marcona on Melrose, so we wandered in for lunch thinking we were going to get tapas or at least vaguely Spanish food. I had the Spanish gyro (Merguez sausage on pita) and he had the Lomo (pork shoulder, roast parsnips date mustard), and both were ok.
But the majority of the menu, which is mostly salads and sandwiches, had some of the oddest combos I've seen: vegan meatloaf, bloomed wheat berry salad, grilled tofu on pita, caprese beets sandwich. It was like reading a greatest hits menu that's trying to target every "trend" in sight—and misses by a mile.
Our sandwiches were $12 each (IIRC) and came with no sides. We got free water in one of those tall bottles with a stopper that the waitress couldn't figure out how to open. The room itself is cold—bare floor and just a few bare tables. On one wall are shelves neatly stocked with bags of rice, jars of French mustard and harissa that no one is ever going to buy because they look like props.
The website explains a lot. In fact, I can't top the story of this NY chef longing to recreate the deli fare of his native city "elevated by Mediterranean influences" all merged into high-end sandwiches. You'll just have to read it for yourselves...