You foodies asked for more casual reviews, so here is it!
The Venue & Ambience
Have you ever wanted good southern BBQ? I have! Which is how I found myself at Have Mercy on a Friday Night after work. Now it'd been a long day, and the music was blaring, but that wasn't anything that a Moscow Mule or a pitcher of the Sweet Tea, a combination of sweet tea (duh!), southern comfort, and bourbon couldn't fix.
A first look, Have Mercy (owned by Merchant Hospitality who also owns El Cortez and the Holy Roller) looks like a bar where I'd expect to find bikers. Not cyclists, but bikers. The big burly kind, that want a good beer and a filling meal. Much to my surprise, Have Mercy was filled with the average Edmontonian looking for a place to eat, in this open concept type restaurant, which would make sense, as the venue has a live music area.
Looking at the menu initially had me a bit overwhelmed (bad design aside). There were so many mouthwatering options to choose from, like crab cakes, biscuits and gravy, fried chicken, and the mac & cheese of the week. I finally settled on the Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf Po'boy ($18) and a side of the regular mac & cheese ($8), nothing overly fancy here, just Velveeta cheese, macaroni, and pickled jalapeños. This mac & cheese was different from others that I'd had, probably because it was made of processed cheese, but hey, it was still good and worth trying. The Po'boy, on the other hand, was delicious! The Applewood smoked bacon gave a flavourful hug to the meatloaf in this tasty sandwich. It was made all the better by a bourbon-infused tomato jam, wild mushroom ragu, cabbage and pickles, all sandwiched together between a baguette. And can we talk about the fries? They're ranch dusted! These were a hit and a miss at the table. I loved them and thought that they were a nice change from traditional French fries, others did not appreciate them as much.
As my family was with me, there were a few orders of the Crispy Fried Chicken ($18). It was served with your choice of slaw or Caesar salad, and choice of hot, honey hot, root beer BBQ, buttermilk ranch seasoning, or crispy salt & pepper coating. I opted for a taste of the salt & pepper coating and found that the fried chicken was seasoned well, salted right, and the batter light and not over fried (no extra crispy over fried chicken here). While the white meat was a bit overcooked, the dark meat was juicy and tender–a requirement when it comes to fried chicken, and a must-have for my Asian family (we're all about the dark meat... in fact, sometimes we fight over it)!
To finish off dinner, my family and I decided to share the Fat Elvis Beignet–a New Orleans style donut with banana Bavarian cream, peanut butter mousse, chocolate icing sugar and a side of maple orange bacon jam. That sounds like it could be tasty, right? Unfortunately, this dessert, like the one I'd had from Holy Roller a while back (that's a story for another time), was a complete disaster. Less confusing, but still awful. Our beignet was dry and hard, and the addition of the maple orange bacon jam did not complement or enhance the beignet in any way. Banana Bavarian and peanut butter? Sure. Chocolate icing sugar? Sure. Maple orange bacon jam that was plated on the side? No thanks. In fact, this dessert was so repulsive that we sent it back. Even our server agreed that something was wrong with it.
Overall, my thoughts on Have Mercy are mixed. The food itself was actually pretty decent but there are areas where I think it needs improvement, mainly in the dessert area. I'd suggest Have Mercy on the basis that you stick to the things that you know. If you do that, I think you’ll be in fine shape.
Have Mercy is a restaurant/bar that is quite loud. If that's your thing, great. If not, this might not be the place for you.
You can make reservations for tables of up to 8! I really appreciated this.
The price point seems a bit on the higher side. While you do get plenty of food, I'm not 100% convinced that it's worth what they're asking.
Purchase dessert at your own risk!
If you have any BBQ places that you think I just need to try, I'd love to hear from you. Leave me a comment with your favorite places in Edmonton, below!