Best French Restaurant - 2012
Though a perennial favorite for best French restaurant, Meritage features dishes (such as moules frites, slow-cooked monkfish, escargot braised with oxtail, an amusement of tuna tartare "taco, " and the stunning selection of oysters on the half shell) that could make this restaurant a worthy contender in the Best Seafood category too. Chef Russell Klein honors the techniques and rich flavors of classic French cooking but still manages to keep things light. Similarly, the atmosphere created by front-of-house manager Desta, who happens to be not only Klein's partner in business but also in life, is that of a tight ship, but as a guest you'll only ever feel cradled in the warm glow of the dining room. As with the five-, seven-, or nine-course tasting menu, Meritage's Chef's Table, a new addition that was born out of the 2010 renovation, is epicurean heaven. Don't have time to wade through that much food? Then cut through it all and go straight for the roasted bone marrow. "Every mouthful is like eating a whole steak, in terms of flavor, " says Klein.