The return of the prodigal daughter: co-foodie extraordinaire (code named: The Blonde, who apparently isn’t naturally blond) called for a visit to an establishment I’ve driven by numerous times, but never previously patronized: Mercer Tavern.
Finding a primo parking spot, after 6pm, and now quite warm, spirits were as high as my expectations for this place. Nice open area, wood accents and olive drab, amber lighting in mason jars gave this place a tavern-y feel, with a slight hipster vibe but lacking the attitude, thankfully.
The Blonde states she’s never eaten here, but frequents here to let men buy her drinks. Pure class. Thursdays: $13 Charcuterie plate and half off wine by the glass and by the bottle. Great daily specials, written in chalk above the bar. I dig it.
Opted for a draft of Granville Island Honey ($5.25) to start things off, and somewhere along the night The blonde downed a pair of Caesars… the Canadian equivalent to ‘merca’s Bloody Mary. Menu seemed, pubby, the usual offering of sandwiches, burgers, salads alike. After hearing our waiter rattle off some of her favorites, I settled on a Reuben Sandwich ($13.5) and my compatriot, dual Mahi Fish Tacos ($12.5).
While our hunger mounted, the Charcuterie plate came, and boy, it did NOT disappoint. Goat cheese, gorgonzola, and some aged grueyere (?) alongside prosciutto, some sort of soppresata or spicy salumi, and some other cured meat that currently escapes my recollection. (I’m not an expect on cured meats, I just play one on TV). Condiments were two types of onion chutney/marmalade, balsamic tossed arugula, and some of the most delicious Guinness Mustard I’ve ever tasted.
This plate scores an A+, and I’d gladly pay full price for it on non-Thursdays.
Our entrees finally came, with much anticipation. Unfortunately I didn’t catch a picture before eating it, but our collective response to the first few bites were just, meh. My Ruben was reminiscent of some Hormel canned corned beef iteration that my mother served to us as kids, but perhaps it’s unfair to judge what is supposed to be a mastercraft of the Jewish Deli community, ala 5th St. Deli and/or Katz deli in NYC, but I digress. And the Mahi tacos were quite bland, just passing as tolerable. Again, nothing beats a real fish taco (GO TO SOUTH BEACH BAR AND GRILLE in OB, San Diego). Yes critics, I hear you, we’re in Edmonton, blah blah blah. What salvaged the second course was my beer pairing in Hopworks Organic IPA ($14), sure made me homesick.
The plusses: Beer, ambiance (although music was just a touch too loud for dinner service), the charcuterie plate was superb, and a smiling dinner date.
The minuses: Entrees were short on flavor, and lacking any panache, too bad.
Overall: B-/C+ The charcuterie plate saves it.
Check it out for yourself:10363 104th Street
Edmonton, AB T5J 5G5 http://www.mercertavern.com/