Most happy hours around town can seem like an afterthought, geared toward filling in the gap between lunch and dinner. At Mercato di Vetro, it's the other way around. Chef Danny Elmaleh is launching a food and drink menu, centered on a love of oysters, with help from bartender Rob Floyd -- who created Bar Centro's cocktails at The Bazaar. The new menus will be available from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Friday.
Oysters three main ways -- which were created specifically for Ciao Hour -- are part of the $8-and-under menu featuring eight food and eight drink options.
"We're featuring raw oysters, grilled oysters, and fried oysters in sliders," says Elmaleh. The latter is a yeast-battered oyster in broiche bun with sauce gribiche, pickled chilis, and gem lettuce. The grilled oysters come in two different styles: casino and citrus.
"The casino is different from traditional recipes, with a spring garlic in the butter and Nueske bacon on top," he says, noting it would pair better with a heavier cocktail like Mercato Divine, a Jack Daniels drink. Cooked in olive oil, the citrus grilled oysters, on the other hand, would go well with a cocktail that's lighter and fruit-heavy, like Bosc Bellini, composed of Champagne, fresh pear juice and St. Germain.
Floyd designed an entire new beverage menu for Mercato di Vetro, changing the cocktails to be more tequila-based. Elmaleh explains that vodka drinks tend to blur in taste after you've drained a few of them. "With his drinks, there's a lot more contrast. They pair better with the food, because they're not too sweet."
"Right now, up until July through September, there's a window of opportunity for us to do something with oysters. One of my favorite varieties, called kusshi, is available all year round, but we wouldn't be able to have the kind of variety available to us right now," he says. "There will definitely be changes around July. We'll find something else around that time. A lot of tomatoes will be coming into season."
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