Restaurant Review: Sushi at The Mercury

The restaurant-within-a-restaurant hopes to attract a young, hungry crowd.

Executive chef Chris Ward looked to his past to reshape the future of the The Mercury. He redid a small section of the 17-year-old restaurant’s dining room and hired chef Roger Man to head up the restaurant-within-a-restaurant Sushi at The Mercury. Ward and Man previously created magic together at Citizen, the sophisticated Euro-Asian bistro that closed in 2005. In contrast to the quiet, upscale space a wall away, Sushi at The Mercury is geared to attract a young crowd hungry for sushi and sashimi. I stopped in and found Man plating elaborate creations in the dimly lit 40-seat room, illuminated by flameless candles and a TV, while classic rock boomed in the background. The Yellowtail Jalapeño—thinly sliced hamachi, garlic, cilantro, and ponzu sauce—was a lovely blend of spice and citrus. The salmon carpaccio with black salt and chives sounded safe, but our waiter delivered a curious concoction. The flavor of the salmon sashimi was overpowered by shaved Parmesan and crunchy garlic chips. Service was clumsy, especially when they botched an attempt to pour a bottle of nigori sake without shaking it first. Hopefully they will work out the kinks soon. Until then, this 29-year-old will stick to finding the best $5 sashimi special at happy hours all over town.

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