Dining Out: Mert’s Heart & Soul
I was uptown today and decided to hit one of my old favorites - Mert’s Heart & Soul. Located at 214 S. College Street, Mert’s is in the heart of uptown. I had not been to Mert’s in at least 5 years because of my infrequent visits to uptown, and was pleased to say that it was just as I remembered it. Mert’s maintains an extremely clean and jazzy atmosphere with what is perhaps the best low country cooking that Charlotte has to offer.
The menu is fairly short compared to many restaurants who try to kill you with choices. Mert’s has a handful of entrees and prepares them just right. The menu has also not changed much over the years - nor should it have changed. Any of the entrees from the “Daily Fixin’s” is a winner - blackened pork chops, southern fried chicken, fried catfish or whiting, or barbecue beef ribs. Today, I had the famous salmon cakes. These are simply some of the best you will ever get. Instead of canned salmon like many places uses for their salmon cakes, Mert’s poaches fresh salmon, blends it with Cajun Trinity, adds spices, and serves them to you with their own remoulade sauce. The end result is quite amazing.
With any of the main entrees, Mert’s allows you to select from two side items. Don’t count on getting any canned veggies here. Mert’s has fresh veggies delivered to them daily and prepares them just right. Today I had the green beans along with okra and tomatoes. The green beens were excellent. They were juicy and tender and had been cooked with bacon - just like grandma used to do. You could definately tell the difference between these and the kind you get from a can. The okra and tomatoes included a dash of spice. They were great too; although, I could have used a bit more okra and a little less tomatoes - but perhaps that is just me.
My wife had the fried chicken which came out as perfect as always. Mert’s blends their own seasoning and fries the chicken to perfection. Obviously, I am not the only person who is a fan of the chicken at Mert’s. According to their website, they served 73,920 pieces of fried chicken in 2006. For her side, she had the “award winning” macaroni & cheese. It too is some of the best I have had.
Also, many of my readers know that one of my peeves for restaurants in Charlotte (anywhere in the South actually) is bad sweet tea. Therefore, I must mention that Mert’s tea is blended perfectly. Not too sweet (if there is such a thing) but sweet enough.
Another great thing about Mert’s is that the employees are all so friendly. They all seem like they love working there and love pleasing the customers.
Whether you are visiting uptown for business or pleasure, Mert’s is the one place you need to stop if you truly want a taste of Charlotte.