February 15, 2012
410 Saint Peter Street St Paul, MN | www.meritage-stpaul.com
Located in the heart of downtown St. Paul, Meritage is a French restaurant that has received many accolades over the years. Specializing in seafood with French influences, Meritage is perhaps best known locally for its selection of fresh oysters and fish. This restaurant has been on my radar since moving here 8 months ago, and Valentine’s day presented the perfect excuse to head on over for a late night dinner.
The atmosphere at Meritage is very in line with its French influences. The restaurant was very busy for Valentine’s Day. As always I was very interested in trying the chef’s tasting menu, in order to sample a range of Chef Klein’s culinary offerings. While waiting for our table to be cleared, we sat at the bar in view of the list of the day’s fresh oysters. Knowing of Meritage’s reputation in the Twin Cities for oysters, I was sure to order a couple to sample their selection.
Armed with the knowledge that we were about to have 6 courses of food, we decided to just get a couple of oysters to start the meal. Both oyster types were very fresh and clean. The Blue Pool oysters were briny and mild, while the Hog’s Island oysters were a little “meatier” and substantial in flavor.
Our first course was a refreshing plate of lobster, grapefruit, and avocado. I enjoyed the sweet, creamy, and citrus flavor combinations throughout the dish. Although I felt there was a little more avocado than necessary, this plate was a great start to the tasting menu.
I was very excited for this particular course in the tasting, having read about Chef Klein’s strong reputation with seafood. In addition to being beautifully plated, this course was delicious. The sturgeon was cooked perfectly tender, with a slight crust on the outer edges. While the individual components were all prepared well, the dish really shined when you got all the flavors together.
I’m a big fan of foie gras as a part of a more complex combination of flavors (e.g. Chef Mavro’s Foie Gras Parfait). In this course it was the focus of the dish, which contributed to my mixed feelings. The duck consommé was excellent, filled with a deep savory flavor. At times the large piece of foie gras overshadowed the consommé with a somewhat metallic taste. The course was decent overall, but not as strong as I had hoped for.
I find that duet courses often leave me loving one side of the plate over the other. The braised short rib on this plate was definitely the star. Very tender, moist, and melt-in-your-mouth fatty, the short rib exemplified everything that braised beef should be. The dry aged cut had a strong beefy flavor, but was overshadowed by the short rib. The rösti potato was very well prepared, and made for a delicious starch component for this course.
Meritage’s selection of cheeses includes varieties made of sheep, goat, and cow’s milk. Most of the selections are from France. While all three cheeses we chose were good, I really enjoyed the French blue cheese (far right).
This chocolate terrine was the closing number to our tasting menu. The richness of the chocolate terrine was well paired with the sweetness of the strawberries. The brioche and hazelnut crumble provided a smart texture contrast to the soft terrine.
At the end of the meal my wife and I were both very pleased with our experience. From a great selection of fresh oysters to well executed French-inspired cuisine, Meritage proved to be well deserving of its reputation. I look forward to sampling more of Chef Klein’s tasting menus in the future.
410 Saint Peter Street
St Paul, MN 55102
Tagged with: French • Meritage • Minnesota • Saint Paul • St. Paul • Tasting Menu