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May 11, 2006 11:10 AM

Big D report - Mercury Grill v2.0

  • t

On our last day in Dallas we wanted to have dinner with my aunt and uncle to celebrate both her birthday and Mom's day. I'd been wanting to get the lovely Denise to Mercury Grill ever since my first visit. We made reservations, and I specifically requested NOT to be seated with the smarmy Kenneth who is still serving there.

We arrived and were ushered to a 4-top a bit towards the back and away from the bar area. Our server Randy (will definitely request him again) showed up promptly, answered some wine-by-the-glass questions, and left to get our drinks.

Everything on the menu looked excellent, and upon Randy's return he told us about the specials that evening, and answered some portion size questions from my aunt.

One of the specials sounded too good to pass up...a beef tenderloin topped with dynamite sauce (shrimp, crab, a little mayo and Sriracha hot sauce). Randy indicated that the sauce could be ordered with the fish entrees as well, and my uncle went with the halibut/dynamite combo.

I'd been raving about the Couscous Carbonara since my last visit, so that was ordered with 3 extra forks. It was every bit as good as I remembered, maybe even better. My wife admitted she thought I was crazy when I first described the dish, but seeing the poached egg on top and the dots of black truffle oil around the plate changed her tune immediately. A truly outstanding creation...everyone should have it at least once in their lives.

I also ordered the Heirloom Tomato salad, and was very pleased. Lots of nuggets of creamy and somewhat mild blue cheese, thinly shaved red onion and gorgeous red and golden tomato slices were served up with a light vinaigrette that complemented the ingredients nicely.

My wife questioned Randy about the veal chop and the pork ribeye, and she went with the suggested chop. It was fabulous. My aunt went with the shortrib appy as her entree and was very pleased, just as my uncle was with the halibut.

My steak dynamite was in a word, dynamite! Served perfectly Pittsburgh (charred rare), it was a luscious piece of beef, and the special sauce was excellent. The whole thing was bathed in a cabernet reduction, with some baby vegetables strewn about. Killer dish.

When it came time for dessert, I knew I wanted a soufflé, and went with the coconut version this time. Every bit as good as the chocolate version my first visit, and further enhanced when Randy brought a serving of Grand Marnier sauce to go with the fabulous hot fudge sauce served with the dish. Aunt and uncle split a chocolate banana cream tart, and were nice enough to too was excellent, as was the cheesecake eggrolls ordered by the lovely Denise.

It was a pleasure to enjoy such a fine meal with a truly fine waiter. Randy even brought a freshly chilled martini glass for the missus when her first cocktail sat for awhile as we got caught up on all the family goings on. We commented on that being the first time we had experienced such a thougtful touch to the proceedings.

Mercury Grill is now on the list of regulars for whenever we are in town...if for no other reason than to get some more Couscous Carbonara in our gullets.

Dinner for the 4 of us was slightly under $300 including tip...a pretty darned good value for such a high-style experience. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, as long as you can avoid Kenneth as your waitperson.

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  1. Mercury is close to home for me and continues to be a favorite place for a "nice" meal. I haven't been since mid January so I need to drop in soon. Don't know if I've ever been served by Randy but must have been spared the other one as I have never experienced anything but very good service there.

    I've always enjoyed their foie gras appetizer, the veal chop, the mushroom risotto and of course the carbonara couscous - which they will make in an entree size portion for you if you ask. I swear if I were eating it at home I would lick the bowl....

    2 Replies
    1. re: LindaH
      Tha Groovin' Gourmet

      I was tempted to lick that couscous plate, so I know what you mean.

      I posted a review of my first visit, denoting Kenneth's various sins. Don't quite remember when it was, but you should be able to search for it. In a nutshell, he was more intent on exercising his lame sense of humor than being a conscientious server. I threatened to stab him with my fork when he tried to remove the couscous plate while there were still a couple of bites left. I'm guessing something must've been said to him about my reservation request as he gave me a kind of sneer when we made eye contact in the restaurant.

      It's really remarkable to see what has become of Preston Forest Center. I grew up just a few blocks from there, and there was nothing remotely haute cuisine there for the longest time (not that I would've known the difference anyway).

      I've always remembered that quadrant as the home of the Hungry Jockey, a breakfast spot that we frequented for years with my Dad after my folks split up. It's now gone way upscale, and Mercury Grill is definitely the crown jewel in the center now.

      We're back in October for my 30th high school reunion, and you can bet Mercury Grill will be on the short list of restaurants for that visit. I might just have to do the entreé sized couscous next time so I can enjoy a different appy or two.

      1. re: Tha Groovin' Gourmet

        Glad to hear you put Kenneth in his place ;) Thanks for the report ... am putting Mercury on my list as well.

    2. Thanks for a well thought out and informative report. I'm putting Mercury Grill on my "go to" list.

      1. Thanks for the report! It's good to know that we're not the only ones who cannot stand Kenneth at Mercury Grill! You gave a very accurate description of him. I try to learn the names of others working there so I can request anyone but him purposely to avoid him. I think he might have "little man" syndrome or something. Ever watch The Sopranos? If so, he's worse than Artie.

        Our favorites there are the Peppered Tuna for dinner and the Tempura Shrimp and Pork Tinga for brunch.

        1. Has anyone been recently? I'm thinking of celebrating my birthday here next week.

          I've never been, but I used to like Paris Vendome (when it still served French food). The apple galette they served may be one of my favorite desserts of all time, so I'm hoping that it's also offered at Mercury. I looked on their website, but didn't see the desserts listed.


          1. Mercury has always been underrated maybe due to the strip mall location but I truly believe it is the best upscale american restaurant in Dallas. In the neighborhood so we go a lot. Actually had lunch there yesterday. Let me also recommend the braised veal/ricotta ravioli and ofcourse the cracklin chicken is legendary. Desserts are good, not great but if you've ever read Chris Ward's book, he says flat out he's not a big dessert guy. As far as service, I've never had Kenneth and never will based on the above!! Any issues, ask for "the power" - nickname for one of the mgrs. He'll take care of it, trust me.