I am still working in the TC's. In a previous lengthy thread [http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/675630] Meritage gets mentioned several times.
Last night (late) I finally made it there.
I sat at the very nice zinc bar (although somehow not authentic in feel like one would find in France) and ordered 6 oysters, 6 clams and a cocktail. The oysters were advertized at $4 the piece (!!!!) so I could only go for 6. The clams were a bit cheaper $1.75 per.
On the general welcome: thankfully the snooty maitre'd (male or female) had either been let go or it was too late for them to be looking one up and down as to whether you might pass muster. The bartender was OK. The oyster shucker got to work (clams giving him more trouble than the oysters).
There were about 12 varieties of East Coast advertized and about 8 West Coast although I don't think all were "on". I had St Simon (New Brunswick) and then upon discovering oysters were on happy hour (2 for $3) I ordered another dozen mixed St. Simon, Hurricane (Mass.) and some from NY.
The oysters were good. Cold, briny and fresh. However when the check came the price seemed to have been fudged somewhere between $4 per and 2@$3. It was so murky (lightwise) I decided to let it go.
The clams were cold and briny also. Quite nice. I ordered a steak (hanger) frites to follow.
The crowd was well-heeled (literally for the women) and subdued (drunk) and many were on romantic rendezvouz of various persuations. A few solo diners like myself too. I guess they were serving absinthe although I did not see anyone partake.
The hanger steak ("very rare") was a big disappointment. Somewhere in these annals (perhaps that other thread) I denounced and decried a place which similarly desecrated my piece of meat by cutting it up for me (baby style!!) thereby robbing me of one of the significant pleasures of steak eating viz: hacking away at it myself. Also this stops the meat's juices flowing, cools everything down to nothing, so the steak was neither running bloody nor even remotely warm. I really did not like how they did the steak and it was a fairly malnourished (small) portion of (cheap) hanger steak for 25 bucks. They tried to make up for it with a large mound of string fries to fill up the plate real estate (so-so: not terrible, but too stringy for the potato taste to come through). A Bernaise sauce . . . blah ... humbug.
I had a couple glasses (again meagre in ration) of red Rhone wine.
Mentally I guess I had a figure in mind for happy-hour oysters and a steak frites . . . but that number was not $101!!! A $20 tip and a few bucks for the oysterman and there you go.
M'lud, may it please the court, but I plead the case that the very idea of a French bistro is that a growing lad like myself can go out for a few bivalves, and a chunk of steak and not drop 130 smackeroonies.
The price tag hurt. Although I know, and have noticed, the punitive way restaurant checks have ballooned since my Golden Age of dining. Bottom line: they could still be making money had I staggered out of there lighter only about $80. And then my repeat business would be more likely.
Not horrible. At least I did not abandon the enterprise at the maitre'd's desk like the last time.
But I would only go so far as "not horrible." (Not a terrible review in my lexicon.) Had the steak been more plentiful and running juice and uncircumcised . . . I may have been tempted to up that a notch.
Thanks for reading.
410 Saint Peter St, Saint Paul, MN 55102