My in-laws were in town, and when we have a chance to go out to dinner with them without the kids, we try and let them pick a place that they want to go—this time they really wanted to try Meridian and we were happy to oblige. I was surprised how hard it was to get a reservation on the night we went, but as it turned out there was a Butler game and various theater events, so that was the reason why.
I wasn’t even going to write about the meal because it hasn’t been that long since I wrote about it—but by the end of the meal, we were all sufficiently impressed that I felt like it merited a new post (this also explains why there aren’t as many pictures) (and sorry they're so dark).
Hubby and I started with the beef tartare ($13.75)—so far it is the best version I have found in Indy in a restaurant (although this one was definitely smaller than the last time we had it). There was the beef, with a decent amount of capers and onions mixed in, some garlic mayo and little crunchy chickpeas with diced tomatoes. There is also a raw quail egg on top. Everything mixed together (keep those crispy chickpeas to themselves though so they don’t get mushy) is great. And if you squeeze them lemon wedge they serve with it on top, it is near perfection. You have the salty taste of the capers and chickpeas with the acid from the lemon and the tomatoes and the extra creaminess of the egg and the mayo and well, it just is really well balanced. I like the crisp grilled flatbread they serve with it as well. It has a little flavor to it but doesn’t detract from the rest of the ingredients.
My in-laws had the fried oysters Rockefeller ($12.25) which have been on the menu as long as I can remember. These were really good this night—the oysters were small and very crispy. You got a little smokiness from the small pieces of bacon and there was just a touch of creamed spinach and some hot sauce. A classic dish that Meridian is still doing very well.
Hubby and I shared a salad—it was Bibb lettuce, sliced Fuji apples, walnuts and Danish blue cheese with a herb walnut vinaigrette ($8.75). It was really good. I appreciated that they split it for us in the kitchen so that we got an even amount of the goodies and dressing. It had just the right amount of toppings in relation to the lettuce, and the right amount of dressing as well. Blue cheese and walnuts are one of my favorite combos, so this was a great salad for me. Hubby liked it a lot as well.
Hubby had the salmon entrée ($26.50) (well, we shared our entrees) and it was outstanding. Probably the best dish on the table. It was Skuna Bay salmon with a potato hash, leek fondue, and asparagus and artichokes. Hubby asked for the salmon to be cooked medium rare, which they did perfectly. The potato hash was little fried diced potatoes which were still hot and crunchy (yay! texture!) and then the leek fondue gave it a little creamy sauce and the bits of artichoke and asparagus the right amount of veg. The sauce had a distinct lemony flavor (yay! acid!). All ingredients I love and it all went perfectly together. I would get this again in a heartbeat.
The dish I ordered was actually the biggest disappointment of the evening. It was actually a starter on the menu. They called it “Bacon and eggs” ($13.25) and it was a slice of pork belly, cheddar grits, a sunny side up egg and sweet and sour Brussels Sprouts. I was kind of excited about this dish because I had a similar thing last time with eggs and grits and shrimp that was really nice. The addition of the sweet and sour Brussels sprouts had me intrigued. The egg was good and the grits were good—but the pork belly was quite dry and the Brussels sprouts were just not cooked enough. They were seared on the edges, but they were just too hard. It was a bummer because I think this could be a really cool combo. Maybe if they par cooked the sprouts or something.
My mother-in-law had the turbot (which is a mild, white fish) ($42) and it was also very good. I only had a couple of bites so it is hard for me to discuss it too much—and there was a lot going on. There was the fish, prosciutto wrapped prawns, beets, leeks, asparagus I think and kumquats. I loved the kumquats—they were sliced really thin and definitely gave it that tangy bite that I like. I was a little surprised by how much more expensive it was than the rest of the entrées when I glanced at the bill, and that they didn’t mention the price when they told us about it. But maybe I am just being picky (and I wasn’t paying so I guess I shouldn’t complain). I also had a bite of my father-in-law’s boar Bolognese that was also very good. I am a sucker for fresh pasta. We all shared a side of the fries as well, which are really, really good fries.
Hubby and I shared a different dessert this time (often being lured in by the fresh doughnuts which are always good). We had the butterscotch brulee ($7) which was a butterscotch pudding that was caramelized on top. My favorite part was when you dug down into it; you came up with bits of shortbread cookies. That was a nice surprise and we both enjoyed it.
Overall, I think Meridian is doing some really good food. The place was jam packed. I have always loved the interior, and our service was great on this visit. In fact, at one point when the air conditioning actually came on next to our table (and it was cold outside) I asked our server if she could ask them to turn it off and she actually did. Usually they kind of look at you and say they will try and nothing changes. I was impressed.
Meridian is going back into our rotation. Have you been lately? What did you think?