Why is it so difficult for people strolling Park Avenue in search of a restaurant to turn a corner?
Sure, there are plenty of restaurants with a bona fide Park Avenue address that are worth dining at. But there are other eateries every bit as worthy of attention just off the main thoroughfare. And I’m talking mere steps, not blocks away.
Consider the space at 155 E. Morse Blvd., the current home of La Merce, a cafe with a Spanish-leaning European menu. On a recent day at the height of the lunch hour while most of the Park Ave restaurants were brimming with diners, I walked into a La Merce so empty that my arrival seemed to startle someone who walked out of the kitchen while I waited at the front door.
I remained the sole diner the entire time I was there, the only one to listen to the mournful-sounding songs of a flamenco guitarist and singer, Diego el Cigala, that played over the sound system.