Hubby got to choose dinner the other night and wanted to go back to Meridian. The last few meals we have had there have been very good, so we were anxious to see what was new on the menu.
We couldn’t decide what to get, so we started with two appetizers—the steak tartare (we just can’t help ourselves)($13.75) and the smoked salmon crab cake ($14). I think the steak tartare that Meridian is doing is one of the best in town (and one of the only). It has lots of salty capers mixed in as well as a garlic mayo, which makes it very creamy. They serve it with a lemon wedge that needs to be squeezed on giving it just the right amount of acid. And I love those crispy chickpeas. I just wish they served a few more of the buttery house crackers with it because hubby and I were fighting over them. Ours was missing the advertised quail egg, but honestly, while I love egg with tartare (and almost anything), it was just as good without it.
The salmon cake was also very good. The cake itself was not overly dense, and not filled up with breadcrumbs. What made the dish for me though were the fried pickled green tomatoes. What a great extra tangy kick to a fried green tomato. The pickling also made it less firm than fried green tomatoes tend to be, and I really liked it. They were great with the salmon cake and the tomato remoulade. A little bit of each ingredient on your fork made for a delicious bite.
Because the appetizers were what looked so good, we decided to split a salad and an entrée as well. We split the Boston bibb salad with buttermilk dressing, blue cheese, bacon and a large cornbread crouton ($8.75)(the picture you see is a half). Ingredient-wise, I liked everything about this salad. My only gripe was that there wasn’t really enough dressing for it. It’s funny, I tend to prefer creamy dressings to be drizzled and not tossed, but often they don’t give you enough. It’s a fine line. I liked the lightness of the crouton though.
For our main dish, we really were undecided, but I loved that in general they have a lot of seafood on the menu. Nearly half the entrées are seafood-based. We ended up settling on the pepper-crusted tuna ($36.00). The tuna was beautiful and perfectly cooked just seared on the edges. Considering the picture you see is just half an order, it was a very generous amount of fish. I am not sure I could do an entire entrée here. All of the things I saw coming out of the kitchen were quite large. The sides were sort of a play on a Nicoise salad—but this one involved sautéed kale, olives, and sautéed red onions. There was a lemon oregano citronette sauce (an emulsified lemon vinaigrette). I loved the red onions and olives with the fish, and I liked the kale—although I thought its strong flavor was a little overwhelming for the fish. I preferred eating them separately. And I found my quail egg here, although they put it on hubby’s plate. I promptly took it and split it. I mean, fair is fair right?
We had the classic Meridian donuts ($7.75) that have been on the menu awhile. But nothing else was jumping out at us and we just wanted a little something. They are little mini donuts and donut holes that are fresh fried and coated in cinnamon sugar. They serve them with a little cup of malted coffee cream to dip in (it is more like a custard and not like a liquid). Personally, I like dipping them into the cream and then back in for more sugar. They are really good and nice if you don’t want a huge dessert. Plus, easy to share.
I like Meridian. It has become one of our go-to standards for consistently good food. I like the space and while it is usually busy enough, it isn’t so crowded or noisy that it overwhelms. The service is professional, if not a little stuffy, but our server certainly knew what he was talking about and I appreciate the little things like having your plates split for you in the kitchen. It is certainly a fixture in our rotation.
5694 N. Meridian