Chef's Counter Lunch at Mercantile

Sydney Gallimore



I have been so excited to try Mercantile & Mash ever since I first heard about the project way back when. I’m so glad they finally found something to do to revamp the old cigar factory, because it’s such a great space. 


The idea behind Mercantile & Mash is simple, but unique: Mercantile is a self-described “gourmet food emporium” featuring homemade and local products such as charcuterie, cheese, fresh baked goods, grab-and-go items, and other food essentials. They also recently introduced the Chef’s Counter, a gourmet lunch experience that I was lucky enough to try out last week. The menu changes regularly, but I’ll give you the rundown on each of the dishes I tried.


First, the Rappahannock River Oysters with shallot, cucumber, and housemade kimchi mignonette, $13. The oysters were perfectly prepared and I’ve never had anything like the kimchi mignonette before. The sourness of the kimchi paired perfectly with the oysters and the sweetness of the shallot. I highly recommend these if you like oysters!






Next, the Smoked Tuna Crudo with fennel, orange, pistachio, and pomegranate ($14). I love tuna, so I was really excited for this dish. I loved the combination of the fish with the pistachio and pomegranate, but the orange felt a little superfluous to me. My dining companion was also a little disappointed and wanted a little more flavor out of the dish. Regardless, if you like tuna, you’ll probably enjoy this dish.







Next, my favorite dish, was the Beef Carpaccio with crispy sweetbreads, mustard, apple, and a mustard seed aioli ($14). The beef carpaccio itself was full of flavor and perfectly spiced. The mustard and apple offered some sweetness and tanginess to the dish, and the buttermilk-fried crispy sweetbreads were perfection. Our waitress described them as “adult chicken nuggets” and they practically melted in your mouth. I’d come back for this dish alone.







Next up was the Local Acorn Squash Soup with goat cheese, sherry, brown butter, and sage ($9). The soup was creamy and velvety, but lacked some depth that I was looking for.








The Butternut Agnolotti with duck confit, dates, hazelnuts, and vanilla bacon ($12) was really interesting. The vanilla was very strong, but was a great complement to the creaminess of the butternut pasta and dates. I liked that the duck confit was not inside the agnolotti, but rather served alongside in the dish.







The Seared Scallops with roasted cauliflower, parsnip, almond, and citrus ($16) were perfectly cooked and were huge on the plate. The sauce that they were served with was amazing, and I wished they would bottle it so I could put it on everything.






The final entree of the meal was the Heritage Farms Cheshire Pork Chop with ham hock, brussels sprouts, cider, and ginger ($18). The pork was amazing… it was moist and flavorful and I loved the cider and ginger that went along with it. The brussels were also perfectly cooked; not too hard and not too mushy.







We also tried an iced coffee from the “coffee wizard,” a concoction that he created dubbed the “Steve Palmer” (named after the owner). Instead of lemonade and tea, they combined limeade and iced coffee, which was surprisingly delicious.








The space itself is breathtaking and perfect for lunch with friends, a casual coffee date, or working remotely. They also offer great take-and-go options like their “dinner for two” deal. Be sure to stop by and check out this amazing space if you haven’t already!




the bakery case offers sweet indulgences




pick up a bottle of wine or two





the grab-and-go case




plenty of table space offers room to set up a laptop and work remotely