Dedicated to retaining its classic menu offerings and loyal clientele, Mercury Chop House recently played in the game of musical restaurants happening right now in the city. With Waters taking over its former location at 301 Main St., Mercury Chop House slid into the corner spot at the base of The Tower at Taylor and Fourth streets. Hopefully, it can break the curse at this site where the Vault and Vivo 53 found little success.
Owner Zack Moutaouakil invested $300,000 in the five-week remodel of the 4,300-square-foot space, adding panels of mahogany wood on the slanted support columns to create intimate dining niches for guests. A handsome curved granite-topped bar was also added, and the installation of carpet warmed up the previously cold environment. Moutaouakil brought along long-time piano player, Danny Burgess, who croons for guests in the evening.
A late lunchtime visit midweek gave my dining companion and me the restaurant to ourselves. Greeted immediately and led to an attractive booth, our sharply dressed server worked diligently through the entire dining process to accommodate our every request. It was evident that he had spent his career in the fine-dining service industry, and he likely has worked at Mercury Chop House for years, as Moutaoukil reports all of his staff returned.
We selected a bottle of crisp sauvignon blanc from the Marlborough region, and at the same time ordered what our server told us was among the most popular menu items, the Zack Attack Salad ($16.95).
The Zack Attack was delivered 10 minutes after being ordered and consisted of dressed romaine and spinach, avocado, chopped tomatoes, a quartered hard-boiled egg, two chilled shrimp and small pile of jumbo lump crabmeat. I appreciated the house-made dressing and crisp greens but was disappointed with the freshness of the seafood. The shrimp was slightly rubbery. After sampling a small piece of the crab, I elected to avoid it all together.
By the time we had finished our salad, there was still no sign of the bottle of wine we’d ordered. We were informed that they were out (big pet peeve of mine) and would be bringing a comparable bottle. The replacement wine from California really had no similarity to what we’d ordered except for the price.
Having tried the steaks at Mercury Chop House many times over the years and always being satisfied, I strayed from the norm and ordered the Chicken Cordon Bleu ($16.95). A generous portion of tender and moist chicken breasts were stuffed with prosciutto and Swiss cheese and served with velvety mashed potatoes and mixed steamed vegetables. From presentation and preparation to portion and quality of ingredients, this dish was flawless.
For dessert we shared the Chocolate Roulade ($11), a flourless chocolate roll-up cake filled with whipped chocolate mousse. Made in-house, the divine sweet treat was rich and decadent.
Overall, the experience was outside of what I normally expect when dining at Mercury Chop House. It could be chalked up to the atypical timing for a lunch visit, a shift change or a late wine delivery. Despite the hang-ups, however, the food and service for the most part are still stellar at this long-time mainstay.
Location: 525 Taylor St.
For Info: 817.336.4129
Hours: Sun.-Thu., 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri., 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sat., 3 p.m.-11 p.m.
What We Liked: Entrees are elegant and perfectly prepared.
What We Didn’t: The seafood on the salad was disappointing, and the daytime ambiance was lacking.
Our Recommendations: You can’t go wrong with any of the cuts of steak or hearty entrees.
| photography by Alex Lepe |