In 2006, Frank Bruni described Mercer Kitchen as “the SoHo version of an Applebee’s.” We wouldn’t go quite that far, but the cuisine and the service are more uneven than at many of Jean Georges’ other establishments. However, the restaurant also serves a different purpose than places like Jean Georges, JoJo and The Mark: this is a sexy, trendy way station for Manhattan’s young bohemians prior to a night out on the town, not a Mecca for gourmands or a business lunch standby. Too many critics have tried to judge Mercer Kitchen in relation to Jean Georges’ other establishments, rather than on its own terms, and have failed to appreciate that by any reasonable standard, it succeeds at doing what it is meant to accomplish.
Mercer Kitchen is situated in the basement of the Mercer Hotel, a historic building constructed in the 1800s. The interior was designed by Christian Liaigre in industrial and classic modernism: there are exposed brick walls and arches, overhead glass grates, candles romantically set on slatted boxes and five communal tables with superb views into the completely open kitchen. The casual upstairs café converts into a bar/lounge area in the evenings. It is a casual, fun, seductive atmosphere.
The appealing and affordable menu is comprised of dishes that feature market-driven, seasonal ingredients in simple arrangements. There are multiple food stations: a raw bar, wood-burning oven, rotisserie and so on. We have had everything from sashimi to barbecue with mac and cheese at the restaurant. The wood-burning oven turns out interestingly-topped pizzas like the black truffle and fontina cheese and the raw tuna and wasabi. Overall, this shadowy lair is a sleek and stylish spot perfect for a date or a group dinner with friends.
99 Prince St.
New York (at Mercer St.)
212-966-5454 Mon-Thu, 7am-2am; Fri-Sat, 7am-3am; Sun, 7am-1am
RECOMMENDED DISHES See All
- Butternut Squash Soup - with Black Trumpet Mushrooms
- Tuna Spring Roll - Soy Bean Puree
- Di Palo’s Burrata Mozzarella - with Basil, Arugula and Balsamic
- Roast Chicken - with French Beans, Baby Carrots and Mashed Potatoes
- Salmon sushi with crispy rice and chipotle mayonnaise and ponzu
- Steamed Shrimp Salad - with Avocado, Mushroom and Tomato, Champagne Vinaigrette
- Slowly Baked Salmon - Mashed Potatoes, Brussels Sprout Leaves, Coriander Vinaigrette
- Barry Wine's - Raw tuna and wasabi pizza
- Black Truffle and Fontina Cheese Pizza
- (The Mercer) Burger - Pepperjack Cheese, Avocado, Crunch Red Onions, Russian Dressing, French Fries
- Warm Valrhona Chocolate Cake - Cocoa Bean Brittle, Vanilla Ice Cream