So we started off our Restaurant Week dining with Marco last week which was fantastic, but we have been there before and knew that going in, so no surprises there. Perhaps more highly anticipated by both myself and my husband was the dinner we had set up for Meritage (http://www.meritagetherestaurant.com/) at the Boston Harbor Hotel. Meritage has been on our “must try” list for ages, and every time the restaurant weeks roll around we can never seem to get a reservation (unless we’re willing to eat at 9:30pm on a Tuesday). This time, I pounced, and was able to get a very reasonable 7pm reservation on Sunday night.
We’ve been to the Boston Harbor Hotel for their annual wine dinner series and have had amazing meals prepared by the Meritage staff, so I am expecting to have a helluva meal at Meritage (even if scaled back for restaurant week prices). So needless to say, when I bit into my pork appetizer (“crispy pork with goat cheese and roasted tomato stuffing”) I was caught off guard by the fact that it tasted like something fried in over-used fry-o-lator oil. I exclaimed to my husband that it tasted like McDonalds’ fries. This is not a good start. My husband had the cod loin, which was better in that it did taste like fresh fish but it was still underwhelming.
The kitchen staff did redeem itself the entrees. I had the scallops which were delicious in their butter sauce, and my husband had the duck with leek ravioli, which was also very tasty.
Dessert was a flight of berry concoctions for me, which was OK, but tasted and looked as though it had been made days ago. Same for my husband’s flight of citrus concoctions. It was nice to have 3 mini desserts instead of 1 but still, definitely not the freshest flavor.
The wine pairing, offered for an extra $17, was worthwhile and the first wine served was a delicious German white. We loved it… and had a huge chuckle when we realized we had bought a bottle of it at Trader Joe’s earlier that day for $10.99….
So, will we go back to Meritage for a full priced dinner? no. Definitely not. And it joins a list of places who have stellar reputations but seem to cop out on restaurant week dinners (Pigalle, Harvest (sometimes), Sandrines). Just because you’re cutting the price doesn’t mean that the quality of the food should suffer. You’re supposed to be star chefs, so I imagine you could work with cheaper ingredients and still elevate them to a level that makes me want to come back for more on a regular night.