Thursday, April 17, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Meritage

The Pan Roasted Maine Cod at Meritage.  (David M Warren / Staff Photographer
The Pan Roasted Maine Cod at Meritage. (David M Warren / Staff Photographer
About the restaurant
500 S. 20th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19146
215-985-1922
Neighborhood: Rittenhouse Square Parking: Discounted parking at Park Safe on Lombard between 20th & 21st Streets
Handicap access: Wheelchair accessible through rear entrance but bathrooms are not.
Hours: Dinner Tuesday to Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, until 11.
Prices: $$
Payment methods:
American Express
MasterCard
Visa
Cuisine type: American; Asian
Meals Served:   Dinner - Tue., Wed., Thu., Fri., Sat.
Style: It's the same name but a completely different restaurant at this old favorite now that; the most recent owners have gone casual with a cheery yellow redesign and lowered prices, and hired a rising kitchen star in Anne Coll. Formerly Susanna Foo's executive chef, Coll brings an uncommonly deft Asian fusion touch to gorgeous contemporary fare that is among the city's best fine-dining values. Service is earnest and personal, while the longstanding wine focus remains, but with an effort at affordability.
Specialties: Shrimp dumplings; foie gras dumplings; shiitake-pork dumplings; duck consomme with foie gras wontons (tasting menu); grilled kobe beef grape leaves with Vietnamese dip; crispy goat cheese with tomato chutney; squash-apple soup; Thai curried mussels; pork cheeks with coconut sweet rice; diver scallops with curried cauliflower-apple puree; tuna tartare; hanger steak; chicken with brussels sprouts and Chinese sausage; duo of pork; cod; chocolate-espresso pot de creme; pumpkin creme brulee; coconut-apple bread pudding.
Alcohol: There are still some fancy bottles (Krug; Ramey; Tignanello) left in the reserve cellar, but the thrust now is value, with 50 well-chosen international bottles at $50 or less and glasses of interest at $8. Best glass picks include a blended monastrell from Spain's Altos del Cuco, and a smooth California Montpellier pinot noir. There is also a well-rounded after-dinner selection of Scotch, Cognac, and port, as well as nods to craft beer and cocktails.
Weekend noise: A lively 85 decibels, but conversation is still manageable. (Ideal is 75 decibels or less.)

Updated, based on a recent revisit

Michele DiPietro and Irene Landy's sophisticated restaurant has become a destination since the arrival of ex-Susanna Foo chef Anne Coll, whose elegant and seasonal Asian fusion cuisine has been trend-setting (Korean fried chicken, anyone?) and one of the best dining values in town.

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