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Oct 14, 2008 07:19 PM

Jfood visits Meritage (MSP) - Fantastic

There are great restaurant people and there are great people. The owners/chef of Meritage, the Kleins are both. After a total bonehead maneuver by one of their new servers, Desta Klein took over to address the issue, and Russell Klein also took a personal interest in the events. In the end, the entire situation can be described as snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. And Jfood is glad he stayed to enjoy a perfectly delightful evening of great food.

The space that Meritage occupies is very pretty, filled with wood and reminiscent of bistros Jfood has visited in Paris. Jfood ordered mosaic of duck confit with celery root, pickled apples, and cider-vanilla reduction for an appetizer and stuffed saddle of rabbit with a medley of summer vegetables and tarragon-riesling sauce for an entrée.

The duck was delivered and it was the size of the palm of your hand, about ¾” think and crispy on one side. The mosaic relates to its construction of smaller pieces to form the “filet” of duck. It was seasoned generously with salt and overlayed a pool of the vanilla reduction. Diced apples finished the plate (BTW – it originally comes with a small amount of frisee but be aware that there are walnuts in the frisee that are not mentioned on the menu). The duck was beautifully prepared, still moist, and succulent and the tartness of the apples combined with the sweet, vanilla-y sauce created great pleasures in this dish. Jfood would rate this dish a 9.

The saddle of rabbit arrived. It was nicely crisped on the outside with a delicate stuffing laid atop purple cauliflower, baby carrots, baby brussel sprouts and hericot vert. As great as the rabbit tasted, the hit of the dish were the sweetest carrots Jfood has ever tasted. Likewise the baby brussel sprouts were fantastic. The rabbit was beautifully prepared, delicate in flavor, still moist as possible and lightly seasoned so as not to overpower the meat. Jfood also gives this dish a 9.

So the drive from Edina to St. Paul was well worth it. And Jfood will definitely add Meritage to the power rotation. And thank you to the Kleins for there total professionalism and caring attentiveness.

And thank you to the MSP Hounds for this great recommendation.

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    1. Glad to hear you enjoyed what is definitely one of st paul's best restaurants.

      care to elaborate on the nature of the defeat from which the victory emerged? if i had to venture a guess id say something allergen related given your hidden walnut comment, but if it was jucier than that id love to know too.

      even if you dont feel like commenting further, its good to know that it was dealt with to your complete satisfaction.

      1. Thanks for this and your other reports.

        I'm also thankful that Mertiage us in St Paul! Love it.

        1. Funny, we recently went to Meritage (for the first time) and also had an issue with one of the servers.... I hadn't had time to write about it here, but in brief: our food was great, but my steak was a bit overcooked. I mentioned it to the manager (?) and our server. Server offered to buy us dessert, then manager took the steak off our check. From that moment on, we were utterly ignored by our server, and when she did finally take care of us, she was perfunctory, almost surly. Really, really weird experience...

          1. Bumping this again since I went last night.

            When I looked online at the menu I was tempted to change our table to another place - nothing was jumping out at me. But since our dining companions hadn't been to Meritage we kept it and boy was it amazing.

            Service - excellent as always!

            food -

            amuse - olives, tiny tuna tartare tacos (I swear I could eat those more my entire meal) & pal had the lobster bisque which she enjoyed. wonderful all around.

            first courses - 2 chicken soups with matzo. Very good broth and nicely crisp tender carrots and fresh dill, gnocci - excellent as always, harvest pumpkin soup - I didn't get a chance to try it - but it won raves.

            mains - 2 cassoulets, pheasant breast and rack of lamb.

            I had the rack of lamb - it was wonderful and the fall vegies it came with were perfect - there was also a "cake" of lamb shoulder which was great.

            Didn't get my fork over to the pheasant in time. It was a menu departure for Chowspouse which he enjoyed.

            I tried the cassoulet - it was excellent and the aroma filled our dining space when it arrived. I was surprised at the size - it was a family sized portion of a heavy dish. Both dining companions finished less than 1/2 of it.

            Desert - I had a salted carmel izzy pop, a scoop of izzys pumpkin ice cream and a legacy dark chocolate truffle. All perfect and amazing.

            Dining companions got izzys, the molten chocolate cake and the porfiteroles (spelling is off) and all won raves.

            Get thee to Mertiage. Its a gem. I'm so glad its in St Paul.