The Mercury is our neighborhood’s second home. Much of the staff has worked here 15 years or more. Regulars come two to four times a week and are like family. They don’t make reservations. They just show up and get squeezed in, even if it’s busy. Those who like to sit at the bar are treated like a guest in the house of Chef Chris Ward. Diners can expect a strong pour and bartenders will bring a fresh, icy glass to keep the drink chilled if a guest has been sipping on it for a while.
The Mercury is no place for fuss. You might consider its unofficial motto to be: “Why mess with a good thing?” The restaurant doesn’t seem to worry about keeping up with food trends or paying off concierges to keep an ever-changing rotation of tourists coming through the doors. It has a consistent menu perfected over 21 years.
“If I weren’t here, you wouldn’t know the difference,” Ward says. His staff runs like a well-oiled machine and has mastered his elevated style.
The menu hasn’t changed much over the years, but that doesn’t stop people from ordering off the menu. Ward is happy to oblige. From years of trial and error, he’s learned that his taste isn’t always what other people want. He just wants his customers to be happy, which is why he converted a small section of his restaurant into a sushi lounge.
“It’s like Nobu without the price tag,” Ward says.
The main menu is caviar and foie gras. The sushi menu is tempura and sashimi. It satisfies a hip, younger crowd that prefers Kampachi over sous vide-style short ribs. Although the sushi lounge satisfies a different palate, the food is still made with the same quality and mastery that has become synonymous with The Mercury.
Chef Ward isn’t what you might expect. He is humble and doesn’t like the spotlight; he prefers to stay behind-the-scenes in the kitchen. His technical skills weren’t learned at some fancy culinary school but during a summer job while he was a student at Southern Methodist University. He mastered his skills over 40 years of working at some of the biggest restaurants in the country.
Chef Ward may be one of the most celebrated chefs in Dallas, but The Mercury doesn’t draw much of a crowd from outside the neighborhood. It’s a hidden gem in plain sight, and it’s just for us.
DID YOU KNOW?
Some of The Mercury’s guests include former President George W. Bush, Troy Aikman and Tom Hicks.
11909 Preston Road, Suite 1418
11 a.m-10 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 5–10 p.m. Saturdays
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