I rightly calculated that one Mercado Margarita would render me happy enough. I wasn’t the only one with the idea to meet a girlfriend for drinks and dinner at Mercado Mexican Grill & Tequila Bar in Bridgehampton on a recent Thursday evening. The location makes sense—since it’s right next to the Bridgehampton Commons shopping center. Another woman was waiting for her friend at the bar right next to me. She was ordering margaritas two at a time to take advantage of a happy hour drink special. Neither of us were distracted by the four big screens playing sports over the bar. Who cares about sports when there’s good food on the way?
I was pleased to read on the menu that, in addition to the requisite Corona, Tecate and Pacifico, chef-owner Marcel Link also offers Guinness, Hofbrau and Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’. Plus one of our local chardonnays—Wölffer Estate Vineyard’s 2012 vintage. You never know when you might need a little sumpin’—but after that margarita I was pretty sure that I didn’t need it right then. And, though my friend was late, I staved off the temptation of a tequila flight.
I had time to plan my gustatory attack: fresh tortilla nachos with black beans, black olives, cheeses, sour cream, house-pickled jalapenõs, crema pico de gallo as an ample appetizer. Then, Chile Relleno de Picadillo—a lightly battered poblano pepper filled with Mexican picadillo of pork and beef, almonds and raisins.
When my friend Chef Bunnii Buglione made her entrance a Billy Joel classic was playing from above. I’ve forgotten which one, but I remember that it made for a nice comment on the friendly and festive crowd around us. We decided to order our food and stay seated at the bar. Bunnii started with the Grilled Mexican Sweet Corn, which, I’m much pleased to say, she shared. It was a charred-to-perfection hot delicacy. She also ordered the Carnitas of slow-roasted spiced pork, topped with onions and guacamole with a warm tortilla and red rice, vegetable ribbons and habanero-pineapple salsa. Chefs know how to eat!
Further proof of a great meal:
1. I don’t remember what Bunnii drank.
2. Neither of us had room for dessert.
3. We both had portions of our entrées wrapped to take home to my husband to keep him happy.
Mercado Mexican Grill & Tequila Bar is located at 1970 Montauk Highway, Water Mill.