Thursday, March 20, 2008

Meritage

Meritage
The Restaurant
Boston Wharf Hotel

RESTAURANT WEEK 2008

Meritage Restaurant at The Boston Wharf Hotel on the Waterfront doesn't fail to impress. I've heard about the Restaurant Week cuisine here, and its reputation is prestigious, even not during restaurant week. Being one of the finest dining experiences in the city, I enjoyed a pleasant, sophisticated, and comfortable evening out despite the prestige of the place. The service was not snooty, but rather they were respectful and friendly. The food was delectable and tasty, with gorgeous presentation for everything. I have to say this is the best food that I've had so far during Restaurant Week. Not to mention, this is the best filet mignon I've had in Boston, even better, more tender, than Smith & Wollensky.

The views are extraordinary in this restaurant, overlooking the waterfront. The Hotel is beautiful, bedecked in antique furniture and cartography maps-galour. This is one dining experience, and adventure, you won't forget. The hotel alone is stunning and a stallion among Boston's treasures and finest experiences. The wine collection blows your mind. There are over 8,000 wines from all of the world on hand. The sommelier and bar know their stuff. Don't miss out on this find; you'll be coming back for the sinful chocolate and dessert plates, at least! This establishment is known for the creations of the pastry chef. Absolutely outstanding. Meritage deserves a star.

Chardonnay, 2005 Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes-de-Beaune, Clos de la Chais Dieu Château de Santenay, Burgundy, France
This was nice, and had a nice finish too it. It was soft, and didn't taste like a chardonnay to me, because it was a white burgundy. But it still had a clean finish and soft flavor to it. It goes well with the salad and fish, but this isn't a wine I would enjoy on its own. Too bad. This was the more expensive one on their wines by the glass. I wasn't entertained by it though.

Brown Bread with Blueberry and Molasses
(seen in center)
Quite good, not very sweet, tasted like like rye, with a dense consistency of Irish brown bread (that thin, dense stuff). You could really taste the bran and the wheat, which was a weird blend in denseness with the blueberries. This is sliced thin, but is relatively moist. It was okay, but I wasn't grabbing for more. It's quite creative though!

Potato bread (left)
Good! Fluffy and soft, and served warm! This would have been great, but I don't like the taste of potato. The freshness blew me away though. I haven't had a roll this fluffy in a long time. It was as soft as rose pedals on the outside. I liked this aspect of it. And the inside was more tender than cotton. This has a strong white bread flavor though with the potato hints that are soft and smooth.

Multigrain Bread
(far back right)
Also, good. More of a bitter grain flavor, but the wheat in the middle is nice. It's a bite-size piece of fresh bread, soft, and full of seeds on the crust. I didn't want more, it was also okay, but still fresh! Not my favorite in taste. The best of the three in my opinion was the potato bread, then the blueberry because it's fun and different, and I like the taste of blueberry (especially baked).

Nice touch on the butter dish! There was an engraved "M" insignia on top of the butter mold; classy! You can hardly see it in the photo, but it's little things like this that bring character to a culinary establishment, and these little details add to the dining experience by adding an artistry to the atmosphere to be admired, or at least noticed.

"Meritage Salad"
Cucumber wrapped baby greens, tossed in an Ice Wine Dressing
Fresh, the best dressing, incredible. This really is a celebratory salad. The ingredients harmonize together with the cucumbers, tomatoes on the bottom, fresh greens and ice wine vinaigrette. It is tasteful and filling for an appetizer, actually. This is not one of those boring "house salads". Really, this one is great. They should be proud.

Goat Cheese and Roasted Tomato Filled Crispy
Organic Pork Tenderloin, with Turnip Greens
This was good. It's not my thing though. It was breaded, so it tasted a bit like a mozzarella stick (in the words of my date) on the outside. The meat was tender, but it tasted a little cheap because of the breading. This is more of a comfort-food appetizer, though not vibrant in flavor like I had expected.

Wood Grilled Filet Mignon
with Soft Whipped Potatoes, Horseradish Onion Cream, Meritage Syrup

My favorite! The best-prepared Filet Mignon I've had in Boston. This was so tender. It was heavenly, savory, and juicy; with broccolini and carrots, and a tower of mashed potato with a potato chip on the top of the sculpture, and a petite zigzag drizzle of aged balsamic--the syrup. The Horseradish sauce was creamy and milky, not spicy at all, but nice to dip the steak into. Ah, this meat was medium rare, the best and the finest, the tenderest, unbelievable! I was speechless. The outer edges were blackened a bit with a rough taste, but the inside was the best I've had in the East, like I've said. I haven't had a better filet mignon than this other than at Roy's and my own at home. Enjoy!

Cardamom and Ricotta Gnocchi
Shredded Duck Confit, Fava Beans, and French Beans

Sooo good. This was comfort food; the dumplings were like dough, so soft and melt in your mouth, you can't help but smile; with little shredded duck on top and a tender shallot crowning the thing. Gnocchi is a traditional Italian-prepared specialty, and this version of gnocchi in duck confit broth was savory and tasty, as the gnocchi dough becomes like a sponge to the broth and gives a sleek sheen to the outer coat. Good dish. This is solid.

Chocolate Tasting Plate
White Chocolate Fondant Strudel, Milk Chocolate Brioche Pudding
Dark Chocolate Panna Cotta

Impressive and strong flavors of chocolate, cream cheese and buttery-moist bread pudding. The Panna cotta pyramid was more like a chilled mousse, very rich! It sits atop a toned-down dark chocolate crumble cookie and is adorned with a corkscrew of crisp fortune-cookie-esque flavor and crispness, dipped in chocolate. The bread pudding was exactly the consistency of the croissant chocolate bread pudding at Cafe Fleuri, but this was richer and better. It had melted chocolate dispersed, and was soft and creamy-moist; very moist, and buttery.

The bread pudding was definitely my favorite part of the tray because it was one of those just-break-out-and-eat-it-all foods. This really was not too sweet, only the melted chocolate spots inside it were; otherwise this was savory and was like a croissant bread pudding. Brioche has that same savoriness as a croissant from the butter, with little hints of just enough sweetness. This was great!
The Strudel tasted like cheesecake, the cream cheese flavor was too much for me, and the strudel part was more on the dry side when it came to the shell, but it was pretty. It's great if you like cheesecake. Bold cheesecake flavor.

Red Fruit Tasting Plate
Red Currant-Filled Beignet, Caramelized Cranberry Brulee,
Sugared Raspberry Phyllo Purse

Quite good! The raspberry fruit flavors definitely stand out. They make a statement that says, "if you like my fruit, you'll love this plate." I guess I should have realized that because the desserts on this plate tasted too much like raspberry to me to eat more than a bite of it. In this sense I'm speaking about the Phyllo wrap of Raspberry. I just adore phyllo dough. You can do a great many things with it -- I think we all know how I love baklava and phyllo desserts.

The Creme Brulee is an exception though to this overwhelming-fruitiness on the plate. That was purely Vanilla, and it was creamy and wonderful. Just what I needed after so many strong, rich dessert flavors. It was topped with rounded fresh cranberries though, which I'm not a fan of. Too bad. Great creme brulee though! I didn't try the beignets, but they were basically Europe's version of little munchkin, sugar donuts, filled with red currant past. My date liked them! They were more moist on the inside and soft than the dry things that you sometimes get at Dunkin' Donuts.

Overall, this was a lovely evening out. Meritage really was fantastic and has a menu and presentation that outshines many other restaurants. Not to mention, this is a great date location and outing if you can sit by the window. It's rather romantic overlooking the water from a few stories up. This is a "safe" restaurant when it comes to fine dining. I wasn't entirely blown-away, but it did leave a lasting impression of sophistication and a solid, fine-dining menu. The wine list, once again, and the desserts are a must here.
Meritage on Urbanspoon

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