We just dined at Merriman's in Waimea and had what was quite possibly the finest meal of our lives--right up there with our first dinner at Roy's Chicago or every meal at the Rendezvous in Cambridge, MA.
We enjoyed two of their appetizer specials, abalone and a mitake mushroom salad. The abalone, when paired with anything else, would have been outstanding, but served alongside the salad, well, the salad was a dream. It consisted of roasted mitake mushroom served on a bed of arugula with diced red and yellow tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and oil and parmesan cheese. It sounds so simple (I definitely want to try it myself during tomato season)--it was divine. I could have ordered a big bowl of just that salad and been completely satisfied.
For our entrees we shared the Mixed Plate, consisting of Wok-Charred Ahi, Filet of Beef and Mahimahi in Ponzu sauce, and their lamb special. The ahi melted in your mouth, and the mahimahi was prepared perfectly--they were a nice complement to the filet topped with mushrooms and served on a bed of sweet corn (I thought the corn was to die for). The lamb special was everything that Daniel Thiebault's lamb wasn't. Braised and served with its braising liquid, potato gnocchi and a saute of spinach, eggplant, zucchini and onion, the flavor of the lamb shined through. it was supreme.
For dessert we tried their crepe special which consisted of crepes topped with mascarpone (and creme fraiche?), lilikoi sauce and sweet strawberries. We also had the lilikoi mousse which was served with strawberries and macadamia nut coconut shortbread cookies. The crepes were awesome ... but so was the mousse. And the cookies--I WANT THAT RECIPE.
The dining room was nicely done, simple and classy and the service was excellent--not pretentious and well-trained.
We have three regrets: 1) They have not opened a Merriman's in Boston, where we are from 2) Until we are able to forget this meal, every other meal will be a disappointment. 3) We are leaving in two days--can we really eat there two nights in a row?