Monday, March 28, 2011

Meridian - Revisit

So Meridian is one of those places that frustrates me.  I love the space, the service is very professional and the menu can be somewhat interesting.  I have yet to have an amazing meal here though.  Honestly, it had been quite awhile since I had been (about 2 years), because the last couple times were quite spotty.  But I figured it had been long enough, that there would probably be some new things on the menu, and I would give it a fresh review.
There were a few new things on the menu, but not a lot really.  The appetizers looked remarkably the same.  So, because in the past we have had the fried oysters and enjoyed them, we split them to start ($11.25).  They were as good as I have had them at Meridian, happily fried perfectly (chicken fried).  They are their version of oysters Rockefeller and the oysters sit on top of some creamed spinach and have a little sliver of bacon on top and a drizzle of Hollandaise around the plate.  The oysters were the right size (not too big, which is a complaint I made last time that got me hassled by some).  They were on it this night. If I had to say something I would change, it would only be to maybe add a bit more acid somewhere.  There was a little lemon in the Hollandaise, but not a lot, and there wasn’t a lot of the Hollandaise period.
I was excited to see skate ($25.75) on the menu, because I love it, and because it was something new to Meridian’s menu, at least since I have been there.  It was served lightly dusted with flour and pan seared, over a ragout of roasted veggies.  The veggies were great.  They had a great roasted flavor— slightly dry on the outside, but still quite tender to eat. I really liked these. The skate itself was fine, but I would have preferred it to be a little more browned on the outside. Seemed like the pan wasn’t hot enough.  The fish (or technically, ray) was cooked through, but I missed a bit more sear.  It was served on top of a Riesling mustard sauce, which sounded like a great combination to me, and wasn’t bad, but didn’t really jump out at me one way or the other.  If the skate had been cooked perfectly, this dish would have been above average, but again because of the execution, I would just call it average.
Hubby had the pork osso bucco ($27.25)and was quite excited about as something different to try.  It was served with spaetzle and red cabbage.  This dish was pretty disappointing. It was pretty tough and didn’t have a lot of flavor.  The sides did nothing to really bring it around—I thought the cabbage was okay, but it was a little sweet and was a turn off for hubby. He didn’t care for it (as I write this, I think this is a recurring problem with him and red cabbage).  The spaetzle was also just okay. Nothing wrong with it per se, but nothing exciting either.
We did at the last minute, thankfully add a side of fries ($5.50) to our order after seeing them going to another table.  The fries were quite good and the portion quite large.  They were freshly cut and fried and the ones that were a little thinner and crispier were really tasty.  These were hubby’s favorite part of the meal.
Since we shared an appetizer, we also ordered a dessert—we tried the “donuts and coffee” ($7.75). These were pretty tasty.  Freshly fried mini doughnuts that came out in a paper bag that was shook by our server (assuming there was more of the cinnamon sugar that was on the plate in there).  They were hot, and nice and chewy inside and were tasty dipped in the little cup of coffee served on the side.  They weren’t too sweet, and the portion not ridiculous. A nice thing to split to end a meal.
So the thing about Meridian is, I really want to like it, but it just doesn’t wow me. Everything we had was not bad, a few things pretty good, but nothing we had was amazing. With a few little nuanced additions to each dish, I think they could really rise above, but so far, I haven’t seen it.
5694 N. Meridian
Indy 46208

Meridian Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon


  1. I'm glad to finally read an honest review of Meridian. Although, I've never been there I've read many reviews raving over it, but never really describing anything about the food. I've also heard it isn't necessarily always worth the money (which seems to be the case in your review).

    Not sure if you've been yet, but both the Rathskellar (on Mass. Ave downtown) and the Black Swan (in Plainfield) have great spaetzle and cabbage.

  2. I like Meridian, but I've learned the hard way that the best way to enjoy it is to get a table in the bar and just make a meal of the appetizers. The mains are overpriced and usually underwhelming.

    And if you want a table in the bar you'd better reserve it beforehand, because this is one of those places that puts a "Reserved" placard on the table whether or not it's actually reserved. It's nice that they hold prime tables in case a regular shows up, but not so nice if you're not a regular.

  3. Joe in Montgomery OHMarch 28, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    Concur Erin. I found it just ok and a bit pricey for what it is. Like you, I'm not a big fan of the large Blue Point Oysters, but lots like them. I like them with a Mignonete on a bed of ice. West Coast Oysters and Malpeques are great for this, but,admittedly, they'd get lost in the presentation described.

    It's a pleasant room with pleasant people and ok cuisine. Not on our "redo" list at this time. As an aside, I remember the location as Dodd's Towne House which completed what I called the "Indianapolis Home Cooking Troika". The other two are Hollyhock Hill and the Iron Skillet.

  4. I'm so disappointed - Meridian has been a must try for me for too long and now I'm wondering "is it worth it?" Some day - but I'll be sure to be selective over dishes. Thanks Erin!

  5. Don't rule it out just because it didn't wow Erin. Just to name a few good meals I've had: the corn chowder, salmon, scallops, pork loin. Yes, it is expensive but in my opinion, totally worth a special occasion.

  6. I agree with other readers that the appetizers are generally better than the entrees, but the corn chowder and scallops are reason enough for a visit. I have always had a very solid meal at Meridian, but again, I have never strayed from ordering that corn chowder!