I've decided to do a short post about my restaurant week dinner at Meritage after all. For non-locals, Meritage is a fancy schmancy restaurant in the Boston Harbor Hotel, which is one of the ritzier hotels on the Boston waterfront. The location earns a super A+, as does the hotel providing free valet to restaurant guests, which kept me from having to T it in my delicate and plague-stricken state.
We showed up just about on time, I drove right by the valet entrance, pulled over by a couple of fire hydrants and tracked down the valet attendant. He didn't seem super thrilled, but he took my key. It was very Boston (A+ for valet guy). I couldn't find the restaurant at first because it is discreetly located at the back of the hotel and up a flight of stairs. The only distinguishing identifiers being a small brass sign next to the stair case (A+ for concierge who not only told me where the restaurant was, but walked me there - I was wearing my cute coat though...).
I checked the aforementioned cute coat and the poor coat check girl didn't get a tip because I couldn't figure out where to put it. I've never been very good at tipping non-waitstaff. The whole concept confuses me and I'm always convinced I'm doing it wrong, which I suppose is better than not doing it at all... Oh well.
We were seated at a four-top with three place settings right next to the bar on the opposite side of the restaurant from the windows. Now, I understand that not everyone can have a table with a view, but I have to admit that I was disappointed. It was pretty much like being at any other restaurant, and being next to the bar meant much more noticeable waitstaff as well. Speaking of the waitstaff, the guy was good, but not really around. He came by and told us about the special menu and wine flight and then disappeared for a noticeable amount of time. We all knew what we wanted before we even got there, so that was a bit annoying.
We all ordered the lobster tail appetizer, short ribs main course and then the two of them got the chocolate tasting plate dessert and I got the cheese plate. Yes, the girl who likes the bake opted for the cheese plate. I'm one of those...
Everything was fine, tasty even, though I wasn't blown away. They offered three little bread selections, which were good, and the butter was softened perfectly (these are things I notice). I am a recent lobster-convert, so I don't have much to compare it to, but it was very good. The best of the three courses I'd say. The short ribs were prepared and presented well, but I found the sauce to be a little unflavorful and over-salted. I was also stricken with the black plague at the point of ingestion though, so might not have had the full use of all of my taste buds. The cheese plate hit the spot, though the little salad that accompanied it seemed unnecessary, and the tastes of the chocolate taster that I sneaked were quite tasty.
What I notices the most though, beside the food and the large party of girls seated next to us, was the awkwardness of the waitstaff. They kept coming by to give us new silverware for each course, but because of the way the table was situated (two on the booth, one in a chair across), there was a lot of reaching. Now, I don't eat fancy a lot, and I was certainly not raised going to places like this, but there's something to be said for serving from the left and collecting from the right. It wasn't completely possible because of the situation of the table. I just felt like I saw more hands than I needed to that night.
All in all, it was good. The food was good and company lovely. I doubt I'll ever return of my own fruition, but I wouldn't pass up a chance to accompany someone there, especially to a window table and non-restaurant week menu. I would, though, love to go back to the hotel in better weather and take advantage of the beautiful views.
I didn't take any pictures of the food because it just seemed tacky :-)