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Merenda - Winter report

tedm | Dec 27, 200204:21 PM

My SO and I ate here two Fridays ago based on the high praise from the Hounds on this board. It was her birthday, so I made sure to tell them it was a special occasion when I made the reservation.

They passed that test easily when they offered us a table by the front window. The service overall was exceptional; our waiter was very knowledgeable and was attentive without being obtrusive. The space was great; very small and intimate with cozy red walls.

The food was outstanding; every course was excellent. Not a single misstep in any of the 7 courses we shared between us.

Here's the rundown (it's been two weeks so I may be a bit foggy on some details):

First: Scallops with baby arugula, sauteed endive, balsamic and olive oil - simply outstanding. A huge portion and the scallops were cooked to perfecton, I could've gone home after this course and been totally happy.

Crab and grapefruit salad - again, amazing. an enormous size portion of sweet fresh crab with a perfect balance of grapefruit.

Second: Pumpkin ravioli with brown butter and fried sage - a standard, but the absolute best version of this dish I have ever tasted. For the heaviness of the dish, the portion was smaller, and was the perfect amount (4 ravioli).

Garganelli with Duck Ragout - Hand rolled garganelli cooked to perfect al dente. The duck had a wonderful long simmered stew flavor. It gave a warm feeling like home cooking but better. A very generous portion as well.

Braised Short Ribs - Here's where the blood started rushing to the stomach and memory started to fade. I thought they wouldn't be able to top the first two courses, and along comes this dish. A huge portion of meat (no bones) in a very delicious sauce with cream and leeks. I had to take part of this home so I could save room for dessert!

I was too full at this point to try the fish entree, but it was trout served over farro and i can't remember much else.

For dessert we had the budino, which I'm sure you have all read about from the previous posts. It was terrific and I didn't have to remind them to add a little birthday candle on the side. I couldn't be happier with the experience overall. I've been raving about this meal for two weeks and it has raised the bar of culinary expectaions for me. I loved eating this kind of food in a relaxed, comfortable setting. My SO had no idea I was taking her here and
loved it as much as I did. We can't wait to go back!

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