The Merchant Tavern, St. John’s, NL, Canada, 6/26/19

exterior
exterior

The Merchant Tavern is a large place with a combination of high top and regular size tables, a few stools by the kitchen counter and a huge u-shaped bar with seating in the middle.  Windows to the street are on one wall and the back wall is all open kitchen.   The tables are closely set with marble tops, exposed ductwork is in the ceiling and there are lots of hanging lights.  Wood and some art decorate the walls.   It is a more casual option offered by the group that owns the more upscale Raymonds.  The menu was all a la carte and had a couple specials offered.  It features seasonal, local foods.  The place was crowded, casual and noisy.  Service was friendly and helpful.  They did not have a business card but with a search to the name and place you will find their website for the place on 291 Water St., St. John’s NL.

inteiror
interior
interior
interior
interior
interior
another side of the bar
another side of the bar
kitdhen
kitchen
Frankie looked out the window
Frankie looked out the window
menu
menu
beers
beer menu
drinks
drink menu
table set up
table set up

 

We started by splitting the Caesar Salad with bacon lardon and Parmigiano.  It was hearts of romaine with 2 pieces of smoked pork belly on the side.  The leaves were lightly dressed and then dusted with crispy breadcrumbs and capers.  It all blended together nicely and made for fun bites of texture and flavor.  The pork was very savory and added a nice dimension to the salad.

Caesar
Caesar Salad, bacon lardon, Parmigiano
closer
closer
turned
turned
turned
another angle
turned
another side
Frankie posed on the art
Frankie posed on the art
wine front
wine front
wine back
wine back

 

Fish and chips was made with fried cod, fries and tartar sauce.  The server asked if I wanted gravy and dressing with it and said it was the usual way to eat the dish in Newfoundland.  They were tasty additions but they did cost an extra $2 for each one.  The stuffing was crispy small chunks of seasoned bread and the gravy was a dark one (as opposed to cream gravy.  I found I liked the gravy with the fries and the stuffing on its own.  The cod was 2 huge pieces of moist fish that had a wonderful crisp to the coating.  It was offered in 2 sizes and the smaller just came with one chunk of fish, which in retrospect is what I should have ordered.  The coating was quite thick and made it a pretty heavy plate.

fish
Fish and Chips – battered cod, tartar sauce, stuffing and gravy
closer
fish and chips
turned
turned
detai;
detail
Frankie checked it out
Frankie checked it out

 

Steak Frites was a sliced 10 oz. sirloin bavette, chimichurri, au jus and house cut fries.  The meat was chewy but tasty and cooked a perfect rare, as requested.  The chimichurri sauce covered the meat and was really good.  Underneath it was a slightly thickened sauce that really brought out the flavor.  The fries were a really generous portion and good when they soaked up the sauce.

steak and fries
Steak Frites – Sliced 10 oz. sirloin bavette, chimichurri, au jus, house cut frites
turned
turned
closer
closer
Frankie found plants
Frankie found plants

 

Vinegar Pie was made with a Sagamite crust, topped with Tetley tea ice cream and Newfoundland berries.   The sagamite added a bit of corn grit to the crust and the filling was not overly sweet.  The berries were really tart and the tea ice cream was soft and slushy.  The dish needed more sugar and was not a hit.

pie
Vinegar Pie – Sagamite crust, Tetley tea ice cream, Newfoundland berries
from the top
from the top
turned
turned
Frankie inspected the sink
Frankie inspected the sink

 

However the Madeleines that were six, rich, shell-shaped cakes were a winner.  They are baked to order so take a bit to get them but then they come out hot and tender with just the right crisp to the outside edge.  They were dusted with sugar and served with a jar of runny caramel sauce to dip them in.  They were buttery delicious on their own with a small hint of lemon but also really good when doused with the sweet, sticky, lightly salted caramel.  This one was yummy.

madeleines
Madeleines – Six small, rich shell-shaped cakes with caramel sauce
turned
turned
detail
detail
inside
inside
sauce
sauce
welcome mat
welcome mat
dining in the vault
dining in the vault
decoration
decoration
inteior
interior
kitchen
kitchen
kitchen
kitchen
Frankie posed with the book
Frankie posed with the book

2 thoughts on “The Merchant Tavern, St. John’s, NL, Canada, 6/26/19

  1. I love reading your reviews, this one in particular made me want to jump on a plane, but I don’t know where to go. You say St. John’s in the heading and Water St. in the body of the text, but I don’t know what country this is in. Perhaps include complete address in the headings? Hope y’all are well. Wish you could join me in Vietnam during October.

    1. Thanks! I’m trying to figure a way to best indicate locations of places and haven’t gotten consistent but I will try to do better! This one is in Newfoundland, Canada. Wish we could meet you in Vietnam too! Have fun and great dining!

Leave a Reply