Thursday, August 14, 2008

Restaurant Review: The Franklin Mercantile

I've been hearing about the Franklin Mercantile all summer, mostly from the family I live with, and I've wanted to check it out. It's known in picturesque Downtown Franklin (picture the streetlight scene from The Notebook) as a great place to grab a sandwich, but the owners recently added a dinner menu. I thought it might be a good place for dinner when my family came to visit--we've always explored Downtown Nashville when they've come in the past, so this time we decided a trip to Downtown Franklin was in order. After perusing Main Street and checking out our options, we settled on the Merc. The prices were moderate, and generous looking portions adorned the plates of alfresco diners.

We opted to eat inside, mostly because the outdoor tables weren't big enough for five. But the interior proved charming, with eclectic wooden and Formica tables topped with vintage table cloths, a cozy couch, and varying art displays throughout the restaurant. The menu boasts an impressive beverage list, but the sweet and fruit tea, served in old fashioned Ball jars, was the creme de la creme. The tapas-style dinner menu is fairly short, but full of tempting options, of which we tried several.

Matt had the shrimp bruschetta and Taylor and Dad each had the tapas burgers, which are essentially sliders on baguette with a bruschetta garnish. I consider myself something of a bruschetta connoisseur, after a semester in Italy of perfecting my own bruschetta recipe, but I was impressed with the flavor of the tomato-basil blend. Mom and I split the tapas burgers and the raspberry chicken with pecans, which was by far my favorite dish. The raspberry glaze was light, but flavorful, and the chicken was perfectly seared. An added plus was the delicious sweet potato pancakes on the side.

We were too full for desert, but I'll save that for another day. With great food at reasonable prices, I think it's safe to say we'll go back. And for those who are familiar only with the Merc's sandwiches, I heartily recommend checking out the evening menu!

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