Friday, June 3, 2011

Road Trip Review: Dinner at Mert's Heart and Soul In Charlotte, NC

Today’s choice was dinner at Mert's Heart and Soul in downtown Charlotte, NC



It was our first night in Charlotte and we had to visit a place we enjoyed the last time we were in NC. So we chose to go to Mert's, a restaurant in the heart of uptown Charlotte. Mert's is known for its mouth watering soul food and down home feel. We weren't disappointed by our return but it did fail to live up to some of our expectations.


Restaurant:


Mert's is a soul food restaurant in downtown Charlotte (they call it uptown for some reason.) It Is the  labors of owner Owner/Chef James Bazzelle who wanted to create a place with “southern, low country & Gullah inspired dishes. The place is well decorated and bustling on every time we visit there, This night was no exception. There was only a 20 minute wait when we arrived but it moved along quickly. We were seated close to the service area, which meant that waiters were buzzing past us all the time and occasionally my wife  and friend were splashed with grease from the fryer. It gave the place a nice down home asthetic that I appreciated more than some might. If you go by some of the visitors to urban spoon the busy nature of the restaurant is often considered a downside but I liked the way they handled the crowd. The crowd was very noisy, which most people also may consider a downside but it wasn't much noisier than your typical restaurant.

The menu at Mert's is pretty standard as far as a soul food restaurant. They offer soups, salads and veggie plates. They have catfish, and whiting and friend chicken. They also offer shriimp and whiting Po boys, and roasted lamb chop. The place smelled good and we liked the portion sizes we saw on the plates of those around us. They also have a beer and wine list and desserts provided by Saturday Morning Cakes and Foxx Bakery.

The Food: 



I ordered the combo plate that came with catfish and ribs. For sides I ordered greens and yams, and all the meals come with cornbread. We also ordered the peach cobbler ala mode for dessert. 

The review:



The food was pretty good. The catfish was “on the bone” which makes for an interesting presentation but can be a bear to eat. As an aside, there is a reason I don't typically eat crab legs: I don't like having to  work for my meal when I am at the table. I had to make sure I wasn’t swallowing bones as I tasted the dish. The fish was well cooked and moist. My only gripe was having to pick out bones, but like I said that is a personal issue, your mileage may vary. The ribs were too few, only two came on the plate. They tasted great, with good sauce and meaty rib bones. The sides were also delectable. The greens were well seasoned and came with bits of onions and tomato that added color and variety to the dish. The yams were a sweet gooey delight, but not necessarily spectacular. The corn bread was really good, a little sweet and cake like but still in biscuit territory. The cobbler was delicious, with a fluffy bread like crust. It wasn't crispy like some cobblers but it was sweet and tangy. The ice cream accented it well and I would definitely order it again.

Ratings:
Service:              3.5
Ambiance:          3
Food:                  4

Overall Experience:

I give the whole experience 3.5 out of 5 :


The food was good. There were little things I had wrong with it but it didn't have any major problems. I would recommend the place to out-of-towners bit it doesn't quite meet a higher standard for me to call it the best soul food in the city. I would want to try other places before I call it the best.  The server could have been a little more attentive. The food came fast and was tasty, but not over the top amazing. Overall it was a good experience but it could have been better.

For more information on the location:
Mert's Heart and Soul
214 N College St
Charlotte, NC 28202
(704) 342-4222

Hours: Dining Hours:
Lunch: Everyday 11AM – 3PM
Dinner: Monday – Sunday beginning at 3PM
Brunch: Saturday & Sunday beginning at 9AM 


Mert's Heart and Soul on Urbanspoon

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