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#1 2014-07-11 09:04:38

Registered: 2008-02-16
Posts: 2521

Mercer Hall

This combination bar/restaurant is located in the old Beacon Herald building mid-block on Ontario St. It has deluxe rooms on the upper floors. It originally started its life as Tango Café, a diner style place and was gutted and renovated a couple of seasons ago.

The space in the front features dark woods a large marble bar and bar tables along the front windows. During good weather there is a small patio out front. I had been in on a couple of occasions for a drink and there was something about the bar that seemed odd. The second last time in I realized what it was....they got the lighting wrong on the bottle display. Upscale bars tend to light their bottle display either back lighted or indirect spots to highlight the bottles. This bar despite its large bottle display has no lighting. Its still a nice place to sit and have a drink mind you and the pricing is reasonable.

Last time in we decided to have dinner. The dinning room is a long narrow space beyond the bar. Despite its proportions the décor helps in making it feel comfortable. We were seated toward the front of the dinning area. The fish special was a grilled halibut and we both chose that. We also ordered a Stimson Estate Chardonnay (California). I remember my complaint about Tango was the very very poor selection of Ontario wines. I had hoped that Mercer Hall with its more upscale vibe would have solved this short coming. Not so. Not a Ontario Chardonnay to be found. In fact very short of Ontario wine altogether. The Stimson was good and reasonably priced however.

As we sat contemplating the wine we both noticed a side plate with an obvious butter knife on it at both our places. Our food was delivered and I asked what the side plate and knife was supposed to be for. The server looked at me and in a matter of fact voice said "for your bread". I looked at the plate and back at her.....stone faced at first.....then her expression changed...."you were never offered bread?" rushed off and came back with a basket and some very nice crusty bread.

The fish was well presented and sitting on a bed of vegetables. The fish was perfectly cooked. The vegetables were mostly angle cut green beans about an inch long mixed with other somewhat unidentifiable vegetables. The sauce was a light vinaigrette of some sort. Neither GF or I could really identify what its was or wasn't. It was not bad, but seemed to not quite match the rest of the plate. Over all we felt the meal was enjoyable. The mains were priced in the mid $20 range which was reasonable.

We will go back and perhaps try lunch some weekend. All and all this is a step up from Tango and a nice addition to the dining scene in town. Adjust a couple minor things and the locals will keep coming back even in the dead of winter.



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