Friday, July 11, 2008

Meritage - Saint Paul Minnesota

Before attending a recent performance at the Ordway Theatre in Saint Paul, we had a fabulous meal at Meritage. Meritage is French stlye bistro located in the historic Hamm building just blocks from the Ordway Theatre, Roy Wilkins Auditorium, Xcel Energy Center and the Fitzgerald Theatre. It occupies the same space as the now closed A Rebours. The new restaurant and menu are very similar to A Rebours. The weather was perfect for enjoying dinner on the sidewalk patio. To drink we started with decided to start off with a glass of Rose Cava, a Spanish sparkling wine. Their dinner menu is split up into "Amusements", "Soups & Salads", "Introductions", "Main Characters" and "Plat Du Jour". The "Amusements" are made up of $3 two-bite appetisers. We tried the "Tiny Tuna TarTar Taco" and the "Braised Beef Strudel", which consisted of braised beef and gravy twisted inside of puff pastry. Both were exceptional and the Cava complimented them nicely. We then moved onto the "Classic Pork Rillette with Fig Puree". The rillette, which is basically a pate made from slow cooked pork, was served in a small mason jar with a layer of fig jam on top, all on a plate with grilled bread, dill pickles and brown mustard. This substantial starter would make a perfect light lunch or would be great on a picnic. From there we moved onto some Alaskan Halibut and Roasted Rack of Iowa Lamb. Both dishes were great, but the Halibut was my favorite. It was served with a sweet pea puree, glazed fingerling potatoes, cippolini onions and a white truffle emulsion. This was a perfect summertime dish loaded with tons of complex flavors. The white truffle and sweet pea worked great together. We split an order of the Pomme Frittes with Bearnaise sauce on the side. The Pomme Frittes were excellent. We brought our own bottle of Sea Smoke Ten Pinot Nior. The wine was awesome and went nicely with both the fish and the pork. For desert we went with the Vanilla Bean Pot du Creme and Chocolate cake. The Pot du Creme was a vanilla cream custard with whipped cream and served with an almond cookie. Our waitress suggested pairing it with a white Pineau des Charentes. Overall, it was a great meal. It was nice to see that Meritage has picked up where A Rebours left off.