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Brad Ballinger | Apr 23, 201404:43 PM

It's only one data point, and I have always enjoyed dining at Meritage. But on a recent visit, it seemed some shortcuts or conveniences were taken for the sake of the kitchen, at the expense of the customer.

Sat in theoyster bar. Started with some raw oysters. The accompaniments included a cruet of mignonette, the red wine vinegar, shallot, and ground pepper sauce. Usually it is served with a spoon. The cruet cuts down on prep time (just treat it like the parm and crushed red pepper in a pizzeria). But there is no way any shallots are getting through the tiny hole.

Next we ordered a flatbread. It was appetizer size, and we knew that (small). All the more reason, then, that a 1-1.5 inch perimeter devoid of any toppings whatsoever was just plain sloppy.

We then split a Lyonnaise salad. To our server's credit, she asked if we would like an egg on each half (yes, thank you for asking). The yolk was perfectly done, but the white appeared undercooked. I mentioned this to the server who told me that since the eggs are poached in the shell (in an immersion circulator), that's why they look that way. I replied that they look thet way hecause the white is undercooked, and asked for a new portion.

Maybe the launching of Brasserie Zentral caused some distraction, and inattention to detail, and I'm glad BZ is getting good press. But another experience like this will decrease the frequency of my visits to Meritage.

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