For some restaurants, DFW Restaurant Week is a chance to skimp on size or quality.
But for a local steakhouse like Mercury Chop House, it’s a chance to outshine the chains.
“I want to give customers more this week instead of less,” said Mercury owner Zack Moutaouakil, in his sixth year after buying it from the founding Mi Cocina parent company.
From Monday through Aug. 24, Mercury will offer a $35 New York strip steak dinner from Chicago-based Allen Brothers, lamb chops, flounder or a spinach-artichoke-stuffed chicken, plus salad and homemade peach cobbler or tres leches cake.
“This is our chance to show off,” Moutaouakil said this week. “We’re surrounded with big corporate steakhouses now. I want people to try the local guy.”
When Mercury opened in 2000, it was one of two prime steakhouses downtown.
Now, there are a half-dozen corporate chains. Mercury and newer Grace stand out as locally owned, along with cowboy-cuisine Reata.
Moutaouakil talks up his community support, such as opening Christmas Day to serve emergency workers on duty that day.
Mercury is also about to launch an updated lunch menu featuring flatbreads and two new burgers, a Sundance Burger with egg and a “South-West fusion” burger with pico de gallo, blue cheese and chili-pepper sauce.
Also new soon for lunch: entrees from meatloaf and fish tacos ($13) to eight salads and downtown’s only fine-dining chicken-fried steak or chicken ($13).
By fall: a new late-night bar menu with burgers and flatbreads.
Start your appetites
Restaurant Week begins Monday and continues through Aug. 31.
It’s a CBS Broadcasting charity promotion where restaurants sell special $35 or $45 dinners, then donate $7 or $9 (20 percent) to a children’s service agency in Fort Worth or a food bank in Dallas.
Find more information and many menus at promoter KTVT/Channel 11’s event website, dfwrestaurantweek.com.
Chiles or peaches?
All the seasons run together this week: It’s still Parker County peach custard season at Curly’s Frozen Custard, but it’s already Hatch green chiles season at Blue Mesa Grill.
Also, the old-school Pulido’s chain is serving special Hatch green chile tamales.
The regal rooster arrives
The busy El Pollo Regio mesquite-grilled chicken chain will open its first west Fort Worth restaurant next week, completely remodeling a former sports grill at 7108 Camp Bowie Blvd. West, on the corner of Alta Mere Drive (Texas 183).
The restaurants are known for inexpensive grilled chicken and family-dinner packages.
Another El Pollo Regio (“regal chicken”) is already open in Burleson at 1216 S.W. Wilshire Blvd., formerly a Popeye’s and a Del Taco.