Foggy acquaintances often need extended intros to jog your memory, e.g., "It's Bob. From Accounting. Y'know, the wide stance?" Taking the same approach to "Africa", Merkato 55, open tomorrow.
From the chef behind Aquavit, M55's a bi-level MePa joint ritzed out in every flavor of Africana: an adobe-thatch bar, sheer curtains screenprinted w/ images of African notables, and handmade wooden tables etched with proverbs, like "When God cooks, there's no smoke", and "When Bono visits, there's no laughter". Grub's pan-continental fare w/ Caribbean and South American influences: Berbere crusted rack of lamb, Callaloo soup with smoked eel, and Chicken Doro Wat (are West African dishes represented too? "Niger, please!"). As for drinks, there's a full bar w/ specialty African beers and rums, plus a globally-sourced wine list w/ some select African varietals -- b/c while the Gods must be crazy, M55's sommeliers are not.
M55's serving dinner nightly, and soon'll offer lunch and a midnight-2am menu-- a time when you'll probably run into Chad. You know, from Gaslight? I was the guy drinking a Stella?