Though Mercat, the new tapas bar at 45 Bond St., is good, maybe super, it seems destined to inhabit the vestibule of its full potential without ever reaching its peak. (Hash that metaphor!) Dwell, for a moment, on how much better and how much more excited one might be for a place called Meerkat, but as a topless bar. Cuddly mammals, boobs—it would get a Michelin star in months. Instead the Bond street restaurant which opened this week after a prolonged gestation serves Catalonian tapas to affluent bohemians. Which isn't a bad thing, especially if you're an affluent bohemian yourself. Well? Aren't you?
Mercat also seems to be the latest in new restaurants downtown that import a less casual, slicker aesthetic downtown. It is not a "Downtown" restaurant the way Little Giant, Frank's, and Momofuku are. The crowd that bellied up to Mercat's bar included the requisite number of flak jackets, afros and chucks but most of the patrons were that Zelig-like diner to be found in any hip upscale restaurant be it downtown or up. Designer glasses, well-done highlights or close-cropped gray hair. Who are they all? How many mid-level architects can one town feed?