It had been ages since hubby and I had been to Meridian. It was one of those nights where we were struggling to figure out where we wanted to go. It seemed like a good time to go back.
The place is a very nice interior. I have to say, not very crowded these days—there were people there, but for a weekend, it was not that busy. Our server was very nice and they bring you warm toasty rolls pretty quick, which are soft, and maybe just a little sweet, and very delicious, especially with the totally soft butter they bring as well.
We started with a couple of appetizers—the fried oysters ($16), because, well, I guess there’s a reason they’ve been on the menu since the dawn of time (or at least the dawn of Meridian). They’re quite good. There are several small oysters fried very well and crispy. They’re still doing a play on Rockefeller with creamed spinach underneath, dots of hollandaise sauce and a large dot of Sriracha as well They then top the oysters with crumbles of bacon. These have pretty much always been good, and still are, but make me wonder if maybe a little variation would be good.
We also had the current version of the beef tartare, which they have had some version of the last few times we’ve been. This one was described as a poke, which I associate with a slightly larger dice. This one was still pretty fine I think, but it’s just semantics I guess. We were intrigued to get this one because of the flavorings with it—it was seasoned with lemongrass, ginger, mint, pickled shitakes and served with fried wontons. It was really good. I really enjoyed the pickly taste and even softer texture of the mushrooms. I liked the Asian flavors as well. This was a very well executed dish.
We then shared a Brussels salad ($10). They split it in the kitchen for us, which was nice, and it wasn’t ridiculously huge, which was also nice, but I wasn’t wowed by the salad itself. It was shaved Brussels sprouts, apple slices, radicchio, golden raisins, pine nuts, manchego and gastrique. Many of the sprouts themselves were sliced a little too thickly, making them too tough to eat, since they were raw. The other ingredients were fine, but the salad just didn’t really come together as a cohesive whole for me.
We were more lured in by the apps on this night, so we just got two more for our dinner. We had the pork belly ($12) and the smoked trout ($16). These were both fine, but neither were as good as the first two we had. I appreciated that the pork belly was cut into nice cubes, giving you the full range of the pork without giving that overly gelatinous thing that sometimes happens with pork belly. These were more like a nice cube of bacon. The bread cubes were a little much with it though. There was remoulade all on the bottom of the plate, which was fine. The fried green tomatoes seemed to get a little lost, and that acid would have been nice.
The fish was really pretty mediocre—the fish was dry and didn’t have a lot of flavor. Loved the little baby quail egg deviled eggs, but that was about it here. Honestly, I didn’t eat much more than a couple of bites.
Oh, but the side of mac and cheese was really delicious—totally worth ordering—super creamy and with a nice buttery crumb topping. This was worth taking the extra home. And it’s a big portion, so there will likely be some left.
Even though I know I said I liked the older dishes on the menu the best, I still feel like Meridian may be in need of a bit of some menu updates. They need to do something to distinguish themselves again if they want to stay up there with the nicer restaurants around town. There’s a reason we don’t think of it very often when we have a date night, and it’s that it just doesn’t have an interesting menu, particularly since it hardly changes… just my two cents.
5694 N. Meridian