The team behind essential Decatur cocktail bar The Pinewood Tippling Room opened The Mercury, one of Ponce City Market's most-anticipated ventures, in January. The restaurant, which resides on the second floor of the market's Central Food Hall, attempts to take diners back in time with mid-century modern decor and cuisine. But is The Mercury a hit? See what diners and critics are saying in the early going.
The retro vibe is a success. In his two-star review for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Wyatt Williams praises the space's design: "The Mercury is, more than any new restaurant I can recall visiting recently, a period piece of a very specific vintage. ... The dining room is so finely attuned to low, clean lines and Danish teak that it could be a mid-century modern showroom."
Go with a group, get tableside cocktail service. In her first look for Creative Loafing, Angela Hansberger dishes on the best way to order drinks for the table: "In addition to the impressive cocktail menu, there are some tableside preparations that serve four people ($60). This is a fun way to share martinis."
The beverages meet expectations. Atlanta Magazine's Christiane Lauterbach says the team's history is obvious at the bar: "Cocktails like Moscow Mules with homemade ginger beer and Scofflaws are solid, which isn't all that surprising since the owners also run Pinewood."
These aren't Pinewood prices. Elite Yelper Jennifer B. notes higher prices than the team's Decatur establishment: "So, really good food but pricey. $300 for three with a couple drinks each. Don't expect Pinewood pricing, though the menus share some dishes."
The surf and turf don't quite live up to the hype. Lauterbach likes the drinks, but isn't as impressed with the main attractions: "Steaks and a seafood-heavy appetizer lineup (lobster fritters, crab bouillets) are fine, if a bit perfunctory."
Lunchtime is the right time for the prime rib. Williams is disappointed with the prime rib dinner entree and suggests taking the beef in sandwich form: "The safest bet at the Mercury is the prime rib sandwich served at lunch. Since it comes on crunchy but tender French bread and melting, paper-thin rings of onion, you'll never know whether the ribbons of rich beef are a bit dry or not. Or, at least, I didn't, because I couldn't resist dunking it again and again into the rich au jus and slathering on smear after smear of horseradish cream."