Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 6 a.m.
As a countdown to the Best of the Twin Cities 2014, coming April 16, the Hot Dish is serving up 100 of our favorite local dishes
Slate colored shells and tender mussels
Revisiting this darling space it's easy to remember why we fall harder and further in love with Meritage year after year. The French music makes our toes tap against the black and white tile floors. The scents of garlic, charred steak, and bubbling butter waft out of the kitchen. The servers are always present, friendly, and polished. And everything seems especially perfect when you're seated in front of a deep bowl of Meritage's moule frites.
The classic pairing of mussels and French fries
Black mussels are gently coaxed open by a heady broth made from garlic, tomato, fat hunks of pancetta, and white wine. The mingling of those fresh, sea-kissed mollusks with that tart, rich, herb-flecked broth is a taste of heaven. The mussels themselves are expertly prepared, and tucked into the bottom of the cast iron bowl is one piece of charred bread, left to sop up all of those juices.
The mussels are paired with a cup of perfectly crisp French fries (served with a side of that creamy, tarragon bearnaise sauce). Dunking a salty fry in the sauce and then into that mussel broth is a wonderful guilty pleasure.