Much will be said about dinner at Mercantile Dining & Provision. Indeed, executive chef and owner Alex Seidel‘s airy dining room glows in the evening with European-style dishes such as the cozy red wine–braised short ribs, and the heirloom root salad (pictured) dotted with sheep’s milk yogurt from Seidel’s Larkspur farm. These items offer the same finesse found at Fruition, Seidel’s seven-year-old restaurant on Sixth Avenue, but there’s a lightness that distinguishes them.
My favorite way to experience Mercantile is to go during the day. The market component of the restaurant opens at 7 a.m. and offers downtowners a coffee bar plush with fresh juices, Commonwealth Coffee (if you have time, linger over a flight) and decadent pastries. Highlights on the small, well edited morning menu include the salmon rillettes spread on brioche toast and the cherry-pistachio granola with the farm’s sheep’s milk yogurt.
At lunch, Mercantile buzzes with Union Station gawkers and executives talking business. Order at the register (near the main entrance) and grab a seat. When your name is called, collect your dishes along with napkins and silverware. Or, for a more full-service experience, sit at the bar and order drinks and food from the bartender. In fact, the spacious, L-shape bar is my favorite spot in the whole restaurant. A seat there anchors you in the middle of the action and offers a view into the open kitchen.
Whenever you sit, order the Colorado quinoa salad. This dish offers a contrast of flavors and textures: snappy, fresh arugula and grilled zucchini against lentil granola and goat’s milk feta. Wisely dole out the polenta croutons—even if you eat them judiciously, you’ll want more. These are something Seidel should package and add to Mercantile’s stocked shelves of handcrafted goodies.
Dine in or take out, Mercantile is a something-for-everyone restaurant but it’s so carefully crafted it doesn’t feel like a one-stop-shop.
1701 Wynkoop St., #155, 720-460-3733