Meridian brings modern Brazilian cuisine to Dallas as prepared by Chef Junior Borges. Opening in 2021, the restaurant celebrates chef’s Brazilian roots in a lively and beautiful setting surrounded by apartments, offices and small businesses. There is valet parking available but there are lots of places if you’re willing to walk. You enter through the large bar area that also has some small booth seating and proceed into the large main dining room with one wall having an opening to the open kitchen. Opposite walls are mostly glass with lights in the trees surrounding the place. Music is in the background and the tables vary in size with some couch-like comfortable seating. Maybe due to the wood floor or lots of plants but even in a very full room, it wasn’t too noisy to talk at the table. Lights are dimmed but it’s not overly dark. In the dining room, they offer a 4 course fixed price menu with several selections in each category or guests can go a la carte in the Bar Room or patio. The fixed price menu also has some additions available as well as supplements and wine pairings. We got the pairings and while it is a way to match the wine in food, the pours are very small and the matchings were not inspired. There is a happy hour also with drink specials and different food items. Open every day but Monday, it’s a fun place to try.
Tables start with Our Daily Bread which comes with marbled butter, whipped lardo and olive oil & saba dipping liquid. It was a small round of brown bread hot from the oven. The butter and lardo toppings were both tasty. The bread had a good crisp crust and dense interior. We enjoyed the South American cocktail, Caipirinha with it.
Ora King Salmon was raw with molho de alho, currants, and farinha de milho. The fish was fresh and very good. A mild but lovely crudo.
Burrata was plated with black tucupi, beiju de tapioca and lacinato kale. The soft cheese has a fairly thick rind, which was edible, and was topped with flecks of roasted garlic. There was a little spice in the side ingredients. The ‘tortilla’ served with it was made from tapioca and had a spongy-chewy texture. I liked it – it reminded me of the big tapioca balls you get in the bottom of bubble tea only in a flat disk. The kale on top was flash fried to a thin crispy leaf and underneath it is softer.
Pappardelle was with a mushroom ragoût, catupiry cheese and garlic chips. There were actually 2 kinds of cheese in the dish, one a Brazilian soft cheese, catupiry, and the other grated Romano that was on top. The pasta was cooked nicely and had a good thickness to go with the tasty sauce.
Crispy polenta was alongside grilled octopus, banana pepper and liguica aioli. The well-grilled octopus was a small tentacle under the greens. It was nicely chewy with a grilled flavor. The polenta was fried to a perfectly crisp exterior leaving the inside soft and corny. One of the components in the greens or sauce had a little spice kick that added to the flavor. This one had fun textures to eat.
Dry-aged pork loin was with molho campanha, gai lan and chicharrón. The pork was a rib-eye cut and been aged 14 days. it turned out juicy, pink and tender. The sauce was similar to a barbecue sauce and the greens were Chinese broccoli. The chicharrón were slightly stale and thus not crisp but the pork was fine without them.
Skate Moqueca was served with charred plantains and coconut broth, dende oil and steamed rice. The plump piece of fish had been nicely browned to a crisp on one side. The other sat on a small pile of rice that was terrific mixed with the sauce that was poured at the table. Some cilantro on the top added another flavor and a yellow Brazilian spice was also underneath, which added a bit of spice to the dish. The plantains were a bit dull but the tomato really blended well with the other ingredients.
Catupiry cheesecake ice cream was with goibada and a graham cracker crumble. The perfect round ball of smooth, cool creaminess was recommended by the server and it was a good suggestion. The wonderful texture was accented with the sauce and crumbs for a good ending.
Brigadiero was made with dulce caramel, candied hazelnut and gianduja mousse. It was a chocolate mousse cake with extra sprinkles and candied hazelnuts on the side. It was a chocolate fix and another good sweet ending for the meal.
With the bill came two last treats, a blackberry jelly and a bonbon. If I understood correctly the bonbon had the flavor of the chocolate dessert, brigadiero but it did not. It was awful and I wanted to spit it out so luckily I only took a small bite. The jelly was tart and sugary. They’d been better off if they hadn’t served these.