This post was suppose to make its way onto the blog several weeks back but I completely forgot to post it so here it is now. Always better late than never :)
Housed in the opulent Boston Harbor Hotel, Meritage, is an inviting, elegant establishment serving up fine food, wonderful service and a romantic view of the waterfront. From the dimly lit candles to the ornate red tablecloth coupled with the theme of beige, brown and deep red hues present, Meritage is definitely one of those restaurants reserved for special occasions. The environment is upscale but quite upbeat as evidenced by the lively level of noise and chatter from fellow diners.
From reading reviews, I got a mixed bag of responses. Some forewarned that diners are paying for the overpriced view because the meal itself is not that impressive. Read on for my opinion.
Steamed Maine Lobster Tail on the Half ShellI was so amazed with the menu offerings of Meritage, especially in light of the fact that it was Restaurant Week and most places serve up sub-par items to compensate for the low prices. Serving lobster on the menu is seriously unheard of for Restaurant Week. And it wasn't any old frozen lobster that spent hours thawing from the freezer. The meat was succulent, fresh, plump and cooked perfectly without overdoing it. The light tangerine broth was an invigorating contrast to the sweetness of the lobster. And did I mention, the portion was extremely generous for an appetizer. It could honestly be an entree.
Pan Roasted Atlantic Swordfish MedallionThe broth is a carrot ginger essence containing bok choy, peas and sprouts. Unfortunately, I felt there was quite a bit of overlap between my first and second course, both in presentation and also in taste. Both dishes contained peas, sprouts and seafood in a light broth. Also, more is definitely not always better. I was overwhelmed by the size of this swordfish steak as it was indeed a huge hunk of fish. Despite the quantity of the seafood, the quality was not up to par since the fish was seriously overcooked and under-seasoned.
Chocolate Tasting PlateFrom left to right: white chocolate and vanilla bean semi-freddo, dark chocolate espresso brulee, and coconut cocoa bar.
The coconut cocoa bar was extremely dense and filled with shredded coconut flakes. To escape some of the bitterness of the dark chocolate, there's the sweetness from the vanilla semi-freddo. I must point out that the "brulee" was hardly a brulee since it was missing that candied shell on top (how could they have forgotten the best part?). Overall, all three samplings were decadent and made for a gorgeous end to a delicious meal.
What my dinner date ordered:
Pan Seared Diver ScallopsSo I learned from Cat Cora during an episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate, that diver scallops are duly named diver scallops because divers actually handpick these jumbo lumps of deliciosity and so they are larger and meatier than normal scallops. In the middle, there's a white turnip puree and the scallops sit in a light butter bath. Although there were only two scallops on the plate, each one of them was extremely fleshy and really moist. It was a perfect-portioned appetizer.
Wood Grilled Filet MignonAs I'm quite scared of undercooked meat, my dinner date sliced a piece of the outermost (and obviously most cooked through) part of the steak for me to try. I enjoyed the smokiness of the steak and the whipped potato side was extremely buttery and velvety.
Fruit Tasting PlateFrom left to right: apple pie cake, Mascarpone cheesecake, and green apple sorbet with gingersnap cookie.
We got the best of all worlds with this sampler. The sorbet touched upon the element of tartness while the cheesecake and apple pie cake provided a sweet end to the meal.
Ambiance: 5 out of 5
Service: 4 out of 5
Food: 3.5 out of 5 (based solely on my meal)
Verdict: Although the food is good, the ambiance and view of the harbor may indeed be more noteworthy.