It’s been almost a year since veteran restaurant operator John McDonnell announced plans to open Merchant Street Provisions and Merchant Street Eatery in the former home of Ligali’s Bistro in Tremont. Merchant Street Provisions, the casual market and sandwich shop, opened approximately five months ago. Merchant Street Eatery
, the adjacent 50-seat bistro, will open this week.
“This place is gorgeous, really old-school and sexy,” says McDonnell, who has partnered on the project with Kevin Kilbane. “The black walnut bar is amazing, there are upholstered booths in the rear, and the tables up front have gorgeous views of the park.”
Since taking possession of the property, McDonnell completely gutted and rebuilt it. A rear wall separating the dining room and a portion of the kitchen was removed, increasing the footprint. The bar, once facing that back wall, has been repositioned and greatly expanded on the right-hand side of the room. The new layout offers seating for about 50 guests.
The original centrally located front door has been enlarged and brought back into service, providing better flow and energy than with the side door that was long in use.
Chef Warren Dolata presides over a concise French, Mediterranean-inspired menu that features appetizers such as goat cheese-stuffed dates with bacon and local honey, baked brie with fig mostarda and french bread, crab and manchego-stuffed piquillo peppers, mussels with leeks and vermouth, and roasted cauliflower and chickpea salad with egg and preserved lemon dressing.
Entrees, priced between $17 and $22, include roasted cod with pan-roasted salsify and spicy spinach, grilled beef filet with warm mustard-onion relish and duck fat-roasted fingerling potatoes, and a mushroom cassoulet with beans, leeks, winter greens and mushroom broth.
McDonnell noted that guests should look forward to an extensive wine list.