Located in a neighborhood that up until five years ago was deemed “dead after dusk” to locals and tourists alike, Merchants NY is set in on a sleepy corner of the Finanical district, which is also the site of a slowly developing social scene–think Stone St.
The comely and upbeat outdoor cafe is Merchants NY greatest attraction. Its white modern furnishings and wheat grass planters give it tasteful Euro flair and seating is comfortable and spacing between tables is humane.
Uncharacteristic for charming outdoor spaces, Merchants NY’s Modern American menu and food can actually hold their own against the space’s appeal. Prices are moderate. Service is uneven and overly-solicitous at times. There’s an extensive cocktail list with drinks that deliver some respectable kick and a standard wine list.
My most recent visits there have included enjoyable dinners, but it’s also possible to just grab a drink and an appetizer or a cappuccino (which is above average) at an outdoor table. On some evenings, Merchants’ even hosts even outdoor movie screenings on wide screen plasma TV.
The pan-fried Rainbow trout is highly recommendable. It had the requisite freshness of a locally-harvested fish and was very well executed, seasoning bold without being overwhelming and the portion was generous. The side of green beans amandine was also tasty and abundant. All in all an enjoyable dish and at $17.95, priced very fairly.
The char-broiled burger is excellent. It rates high both on taste, execution and presentation. Annoyingly, sides are a-la-carte, and come at a 0.95$ charge per item, but include more imaginitive items like brandied mushrooms and apple-wood smoked bacon. I sprung for the Swiss cheese. It was mildly pungent and tied together the sandwich beautifully. The hand-cut fries were perfectly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside and salted just right.
For lighter appetites, I recommend going with the baby spinach salad. Made with apples, button mushrooms, pine nuts and hot bacon dressing, It’s abundantly fresh and flavorful.
For dessert, the warm apple pie a la mode will also not disappoint.