Food & Drink

This old-school market has a little bit of everything

Everyone says to focus on one thing and do it well, but who's to say you can't do a bunch of things well at once -- other than your stepdad, and Ms. Levine, and your crippling sense of self-doubt, and everyone. Doing a lot of sweet things (that you couldn't), Mercantile.From a guy who's already got a sweet gastropub (Bowery), deli (Tamarind Ave), and cantina (Mission), Mercantile's a wine bar/cafe/ice cream parlor/gourmet supermarket that's filling in just about every other gap, except the one you finally got promoted to assistant manager at. The two-story room's decked out like an old-timey market (hand-painted "butcher" signs, exposed brick, aged barrels, etc) stocked floor to ceiling with high-end imported ingredients like BLiS Maple Syrup from Maine (aged in bourbon barrels), caramelized fig vinegar (over 2500 French figs used per bottle) and Italian Calabria chilis; there's also a rotating selection of 80-100 wines, each available for free tastes, by glass at the bar, to go by the bottle or, in case you didn't see earlier: FREE TASTES. Foodwise, the chef's from Blue Velvet and Casa, who's working with a full deli case stocked with specialty cheeses and meats, and homemade terrines and pates, with a cafe-style menu that includes a constantly-changing prepared eats (chicken pot pie; handstuffed sausage w/ stewed onions) as well as sandwiches like roasted pork loin w/ sliced coppa, Gruyere, hot mustard & spicy pickled pepper relish; and a braised beef flank steak, spicy tomato carraway sauced, charred pickle & onion relish'd Sloppy Joe, which most cocktail waitresses agree is considerably more tolerable than Grabby Joe. They've also got a freezer case with unusual ice cream flavors, like Vietnamese coffee, blueberry lavender, and caramel butter popcorn, which you once tried to make by melting the butter, while you popped the popcorn, then getting out the caramel, but it was too fast, and too much, and ahhh -- you'll never be able to do anything right!