Del Merei Grille (very good - long review)
I finally made it to Del Merei Grille on Saturday night and LOVED it.
My parents were in town and we had planned to head up to Baltimore for the afternoon/evening, but the weather prevented us from doing that, so we stuck around. We got a very last minute reservation at the Del Merei (literally called at 7:40 and got an 8:00 seating) and rushed over there.
We started with an order of the Frickles and the Fried cheese. The Frickles were absolutely to die for! These paper thin dill pickles with the very slightest of batter are fried crisp and served with a tangy and salty dipping sauce. The fried cheese was also fabulous - real, fresh mozzarella dipped in a beer batter, fried crisp and served with a delicious tomato dipping sauce.
One house garden salad with the classic vinegarette dressing was enough for the table to munch on and feel we had gotten our veggie fix.
For our entrees, we had full variety. I had the tenderloin and it was perfectly tender and juicy. My husband devoured his grilled pork chop. My mother loved her cut of flank steak. And, my dad cleaned his plate of buffalo hanger steak. We also all ordered a different dipping sauce so we could try a variety. Our favorite was the teriyaki bacon. The peppercorn brandy was also quite good. The DMG sauce and the bernaise were both good too. For sides, the mashed potatoes "your way" were good, but could have been hotter when they got to the table. I also had to try the fresh cut fries and they were fantastic! My parents loved the grilled asparagus. And, my husband said the creamed spinach was second only to Emeril's (quite a compliment).
The food combined with a really nice atmosphere and excellent service make it so we think we will find ourselves becoming regulars at the Del Merei! I love finding places like this and especially when I can remember postings by other "Hounds" and know I am not going in blind!
I highly recommend the Del Merei Grille to my fellow Chowhounds!
I went the other night. Frickles were great with the the sauce and some hot sauce. I did not enjoy the calamari- too rubbery for my taste and with no sauce. I had the Jambalaya pasta- average with two pieces of shrimp which was a bit irritating. SO had chicken with peppercorn sause. He enjoyed it. Dessert was mint chocolate brownie- the best part.
I'd give it a 6/10
It seems like revisiting comfort food has been a focus of restaurant menus for at least a decade now, but I'm not sure anyone does better than Del Merei Grille in the Del Ray section of Alexandria. Three starters supplied enough food for a meal for four: the frickles (fried pickles), the bacon crab and avocado dip, and a three bean salad. Impressive stuff
The Ceasar salad comes covered with oddly spicy chopped olives, so you might want to avoid that..
Maybe I'm not "southern" enough but, having finally made a trip there, I don't get the appeal of frickles. We went last year in early December. The meal wasn't memorable, but it's probably not fair to judge since there was a huge Christmas party going on and the only tables available were in the bar so they were pretty overwhelmed. Plus, I had an entree dinner salad and I don't think it's fair to judge a place by a grilled chicken salad (grillled chicken on iceberg lettuce). I know GAR has its fans and detractors but they have the best entree salads I've had almost anywhere.
I was with my seven-year-old goddaughter at Ray's The Classics last night and all she wanted to talk about was the frickles from Del Merei, appetizers that she was hesitant about until she tasted them. The only thing I was sorry about Del Merei was that the child couldn't have the hotdogs that they only serve at the bar.
Along with four of my friends, we had a fantastic evening at the Del Merei Grille. The special last night was pork tenderloin with a flavorful thyme gravy - served with andouille sausage stuffing and grilled green beans! Twelve hours later and I'm ready to go back. Paired with a super Merlot, the meal was outstanding - service was excellent and the place was buzzing. I've been a regular at the Del Merei since it opened 02/05 and have had many a great meal, but I think last night's special may have been the best yet!
I'm taking out of town business associates in next week and I know they will find the food, service and atmosphere to be excellent.