I have a restaurant bucket list. My Indy restaurant list keeps growing the longer I live here. Meridian is one of the obvious restaurants because of the location and lure of a full parking lot when we drive by weekend nights. Every time hubs and I drive by on our way downtown, it goes a little something like this: I point through the passenger side window, open my mouth and hubs interrupts with “I know, you want to eat there.” Yup, I wanted to dine there. We just hadn’t…yet. But with the Chow Down Midtown opportunity, despite no menu being posted when we made the reservation, I made the reservation anyway.
We made our way down Meridian but rather than passing, pulled into the parking lot. I always knew there was valet, but now that we were in the parking lot, I didn’t really understand why. And I am still wondering where valet parks the cars considering ‘self parking’ is a mere 20 steps more. But, a nice touch. We stepped inside the restaurant and I was instantly taken aback with the masculine decor. I didn’t really expect the ‘cabin’ interior, but that is what it was. Dark woods, white tablecloths and candles. The greeting wasn’t exceptionally warm, but the hostess immediately sat us for our 7:00 reservation. The restaurant wasn’t busy at all, but it picked up quickly throughout the evening.
Our original plan was to order off the the Chow Down menu, but after comparing it with the regular menu, neither one of us was overly impressed. There was a tandoori chicken, organic salmon and pasta dish for the Chow Down courses, but these didn’t really seem to mesh with the regular menu. Plus, I have heard about the corn puree for quite sometime. We both ordered a glass of wine and started to make our decisions.
We began with an order of mussels in a sweet chili and white wine broth. It wouldn’t have been my first choice, but I like mussels and hubs suggested it so we gave it a go. The serving was quite large, so I thought it was reasonably priced for $10.50. The mussels were cooked well, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the broth. It was a little too sweet for me, almost of a citrus taste. Because of this, I was a little disappointed to have the garlic crostini in the bottom of the dish, fully soaked with the broth. What I did like about it was the grilled, toasted flavor of the crostini. But, I’d probably order a different appetizer next time – there were many options.
I also ordered the smoked corn puree that I heard so much about. From “oh, you have to try the corn chowder” to “the corn soup is the best in the city”. The puree, as it was labeled, was fantastic. You could taste the grilled corn flavor, probably pureed with cream. The subtle smokiness of bacon was throughout the dish due to the little bits that garnished the bowl. I loved the crunch of the small fried potatoes too – I would have liked a bit more of these as the flavors worked so well with one another. Like the garnish of potatoes and bacon, there were also small bites of roasted red peppers adorning the puree. A swirl of oil, gave the soup another element of flavor as well as a beautiful presentation factor. The smoke flavors of each really heightened this dish for me – I would definitely order this again and can see why it was once voted best soup of the city.
For our entrees, we both opted for seafood. Hubs ordered the special of the evening, snapper. The server did say that it had a Hawaiian name, but I can’t recall. Either way, it was snapper and it was delicious. He received a generous portion of fish served with a mix of vegetables, including onions and mushrooms. Dressed with a soy sauce, they were a perfect and light accompaniment to the fish, served on top of a bed of sticky rice. I only stole one bite, but it was enough that I knew it was the perfect dish for hubs.
I couldn’t have been more happy with my selection – skate. I hadn’t had skate before, but after reading about it over at Indy Restaurant Scene, I was excited to try. What I found was a sweet and flaky fish. As a flat fish, it flaked how the ‘ripples’ of the flesh looked, not like how a cod or snapper would flake. The subtle sweetness was complimented with a mustard and white wine sauce on the plate. As the fish was lightly pan fried (and cooked perfectly), it soaked up the sauce in all the right ways. Three pieces of skate were on top of a variety of roasted vegetables, including asparagus, brussel sprouts and fingerling potatoes. All had a rich, earthy taste to them and were roasted to perfection. There was plenty of food on the plate for the $25, and I would definitely order this again. Despite it being delish, I still couldn’t eat everything on the plate.
Despite being stuffed, I couldn’t resist a dessert of donuts and coffee. These are served in a brown bag, shook by the server in a blend of sugar and cinnamon. They were good, but could have been done a little more. They were a little too light – could have been fried a little bit longer. They were served with a coffee/caramel sauce, just the right amount of sweetness to compliment the donuts. I had also ordered a baileys and coffee to sip with the donuts – it was a great ending to a fantastic meal.
The timing of each course was perfect, our server pleasant and attentive to our needs throughout dinner. I loved the earthy flavors and how they matched the rustic yet contemporary building. I can cross Meridian off my list, but it will most likely linger because I would definitely return.
Meridian * 5694 North Meridian Street * Indy, 46208 * 317.466.1111