12/14/2012 04:34:00 PM

Top Chef's CJ Jacobson Spruces Up Menu at Mercantile

He may have made quite an exit from Top Chef last week, but CJ Jacobson is ready to put his stamp on another project here in LA. Word comes that he's updated the menu at Mercantile, George Abou-Daoud's three-year-old Hollywood wine bar. Abou-Daoud set his sights high when he opened to spot with Kris Morningstar in the kitchen and Paul Sanguinetti doing the wines, but the chef and somm split with the owner a little more than a year in (now Morningstar and Sanguinetti have reached critical acclaim at Ray's & Stark Bar). While there have been capable chefs in place to keep the place jamming - it's a nice spot for a nibble and a sip after the Arclight, and has a buzzing brunch - the menu could use some sprucing up.

Some of Jacobson's new dishes include duck rillettes with blueberries and pickled ginger; mac and cheese with kale, oyster mushrooms and prosciutto; and a patty melt. Yep, a burger. A new brunch menu launches on December 23 bringing house-made seven-grain granola and yogurt, eggs Benedict with pinot noir hollandaise, and savory bread pudding. To drink, Bloody Marys spiced with curry, jalapenos or thai basil, bottomless mimosas and Lillet oyster shooters.

We're pretty sure Jacobson is responsible for some of the changes we found on The Bowery menu, too, if only because we've seen him there. The cool little neighborhood bar has been a favorite of ours since it opened, but not once have we ever seen frisee or crispy kale on the menu. Some of the new sides and salads are good accompaniments to the burgers. So now we have to wonder: Will Jacobson update Delancey, Township or Rosewood Tavern too?

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