I went to both in the past month and I must say, I was blown away. Both superb dining, impeccable service, but there were some differences.
We started off with the escargot which were simply delicious. Salty, earthy, it brought me back to Paris.
I had the striped bass which was perfectly cooked. I loved the shrimp and lobster-scotch sauce.
My significant other tried the duck which included the breast and duck sausage with cabbage and spaetzle. We were not thrilled with the sausage. The texture was tough and didn't even compare with the breast meat. I didn't really understand why the spaetzle was there. It didn't enhance the dish in my opinion.
We have a habit of swapping dishes in the middle. My boyfriend gobbled my bass up, while I left my portion of the sausage and spaetzle on the plate.
We ended the night with an eclair which was airy, rich and delicious. Although we ordered 3 courses, we left the restaurant still hungry...
As for ambiance - it actually reminded me of a Paris brasierie. It was packed, loud and I felt like I was dining with the couples to the right and left of me. All in all, a good experience.
The website is: www.meritage-stpaul.com
I live in NE and it took me a while to figure out where exactly it was located. Now that we know where it is, we will definitely be coming back for more. I have read on chowhound that many are unimpressed with the atmosphere. Either the lack of clientele or the fact it is in the back of the building with no windows. But I loved it. I actually preferred it over Meritage. I thought the service was attentive, the space was inviting and intimate and I actually could enjoy my meal with my boyfriend.
We started off with the butternut squash soup and boy oh boy is that delicious. We were practically licking the bowl it was so good. We also tried the wild mushroom tart with poached egg and gruyere fondue. The egg was a bit overcooked, but the tart was very good.
As we did at Meritage, I got the Monkfish and my partner got the duck. The duck at Fugaise is just mouthwatering and the monkfish with the creamy savoy cabbage was unbelievable. I have to say the duck preparation at Fugaise was superior to Meritage. I'm still debating between the striped bass at Meritage and the monkfish (which was breaded) at Fugaise. We were too stuffed to order any desert. The meal had completely satisfied our empty stomachs.
The one disappointment with Fugaise is that you can not order wine by the glass. For kids with tight budgets, it was tough to pay $24 for a half-bottle of mediocre burgundy.
I'm intrigued to hear your thoughts. I am worried that Fugaise is not getting as much buzz as it deserves. I really want it to become a NE staple. If you have yet to experience Fugaise or Meritage, I highly recommend it.