Mercadito Grove (Guacamole reviews)

23 June 2011 by Lee Frank Category: guacamole review
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This past Sunday, after a marathon bike ride around Manhattan – a terrifying endeavor for this novice city cyclist – I decided to park my jelly legs at Mercadito Grove with a few friends to enjoy some late afternoon drinks and guacamole. Due to its tiny size, Mercadito can rack up quite a wait on Fridays and Saturdays, but on this occasion, we were immediately seated outside. We were even able to move to a larger table when friends joined us mid-meal. We ordered drinks and the three guacamoles appetizer to start.

While this post is dedicated to this creative and delicious appetizer, I have to give a quick shout out to their micheladas. If you find yourself in or near a Mercadito, I recommend stopping for one. They are lime-y, salty, spicy, and so perfect for an afternoon relaxing, post-sweaty city bike ride. If you are not one for spicy drinks, go for the chelada which has only beer and lime juice – sort of a Mexican shandy.

Now, back to the guac. Mercadito has three guacamole flavors that you can order separately or in a trio-sampler. Their traditional avocado guacamole is excellent. I usually order just this and am always quite happy with the taste and size of the order. On Sunday, we went for the sampler. This was bold for me. I don’t like to take risks when it comes to guac, but it was in the name of research and, fortunately, the lineup was delightful!

In addition to the traditional guacamole, the sampler includes a mango (far left) and an orange-based guac (Naranja, far right). I assumed that these would be more akin to salsas or pico de gallos, but somehow both versions maintain the creamier texture of traditional guacamole. The mango option is composed of pico de gallo, jicama, chipotle, garlic, and chunks of mango. The garlic and tomato keep it from being too sweet, but the mango flavor still comes through. Scrumptious.

The naranja version is interesting. It comes with crumbled peanuts sprinkled on top and is a blend of oranges, pico de gallo, chiles and garlic.  This was my least favorite of the three, though it was a solid contender. I was really keen to taste the oranges, but the peanut flavor completely dominates this dish – a little disappointing unless you really like peanuts.  All in all though, the sampler is fun, creative and most importantly, super delicious.

Price-wise, Mercadito is comparable to Dos Caminos (aka expensive), but the food is always amazing and the staff – who wear clever shirts that say things like ‘nice to mercadite you’ – are genuinely friendly and accommodating. This great little restaurant also has a location on Avenue B in the East Village so odds are you won’t be too far away from one next time you get a hankering for guac!

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