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Meritage


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A trusted friend reports walking by Meritage last night and reading a posted menu in the window that she described as "ridiculous--1950s US snob versions of classic European food" such as lobster thermidor. The prices are reportedly quite high--apps in the $12-15 range, entrees around $30.

IMO, that neighborhood won't support such a restaurant, mostly because the prices are too high.

Anyone know background on Meritage; when they're supposed to open; etc?

Food is a convenient way for ordinary people to experience extraordinary pleasure, to live it up a bit.

-- William Grimes

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Supposedly they're opening Saturday, according to this.

One of the owners, James Colabelli used to be a sommelier at Davio's and I think was the original sommelier at Avenue B. I think he also has done a wine column for one of the local mags, either Philadelphia Style or RealPhilly.

I think the place has a better chance in that neighborhood than Bella, unfortunately.

Business-wise, Bella was competing with the BYOBs, which is tough with the liquor license, because prices have to be higher, and Bella was too small to make enough money off drinks to contribute enough to overall costs.

Plus Bella opened in a slightly worse economy.

Which is a shame, because I really liked the food and everything.

I think Meritage has a chance, because its prices are not just higher, but much higher and there are way-old school classics on the menu.

So people won't lump the place in with the other BYOBs.

Also, those classics will appeal to the more traditional dining types in town,

and for the newer people who've never had those classics might be willing to splurge once.

For instance, I've never had any of those types of things, and would be willing to try them in the right situation with the right person, etc.

I'm not saying I necessarily like their chances of doing well, but I do think they have a much better chance than Bella did there.

Supposedly the 2 owners will be the only FOH staff, which does mean there's a good chance service will be stellar, if they can pull it off well.

Edited by herbacidal (log)

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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The name is a wine making term meaning a blend. I hope that they make a go of it, it would be nice to see something good on that corner.

More specifically, a Meritage (pronounced like "heritage") is a domestic American blend of Bordeaux grape varietals.

This definition is from the Meritage Association.

While many wineries prefer to use proprietary names in addition to,

or rather than, Meritage, to obtain a license and use the term Meritage

a wine must meet the following criteria:

· A red Meritage is made from a blend of two or more of the following

varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec,

Petit Verdot, St. Macaire, Gros Verdot, and Carmenere.

No single variety may make up more than 90 percent of the blend.

· A white Meritage is made from a blend of two or more of the following

varieties: Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Sauvignon Vert.

No single variety may make up more than 90 percent of the blend.

· Must be less than 25,000 case production.

The term is supposed to reflect the best of the winemakers art, so it is generally used to designate the Bordeaux varietal blends that are the finest that the winery and winemaker has to offer. Merryvale Vineyards produces an excellent meritage called "Profile" which is a treat if you can get your hands on some. :cool:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I'm glad to see a restaurant of such high caliber opening at 20th & Lombard.

I can't wait to try it! I miss Waldorf Cafe. Meritage sounds like it will be a tasty new addition to the neighborhood.

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I'm glad to see a restaurant of such high caliber opening at 20th & Lombard.

I can't wait to try it! I miss Waldorf Cafe. Meritage sounds like it will be a tasty new addition to the neighborhood.

I smell shill.

Rich Pawlak

 

Reporter, The Trentonian

Feature Writer, INSIDE Magazine
Food Writer At Large

MY BLOG: THE OMNIVORE

"In Cerveza et Pizza Veritas"

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Yep, me too. Especially when said person just pm'd me with a nasty note trashing Ali.

Food is a convenient way for ordinary people to experience extraordinary pleasure, to live it up a bit.

-- William Grimes

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I, for one, welcome a Lobster Thermidor, assuming it is classic and well-prepared. It used to be my favorite, as a kid, at the Rockaway River Country Club. Old Original BB used to sell it, but it didn't measure up to Rockaway River's.

Are they doing a fruit cocktail with lime sherbert too? That was another favorite from the Rockaway River Country Club. :wink:

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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"ridiculous--1950s US snob versions of classic European food" such as lobster thermidor."

i walked by yesterday, and i must say i disagree with this assessment of the menu. the menu's theme is definitely "classic European" in nature, yet i think the ingredients and their combinations seemed fairly modern, eclectic and interesting. the prices are indeed high (entrées in high twenties and thirties) but who knows, maybe that is the formula for success. i think, like everything else in life, it's a matter of execution. if the place is putting out truly outstanding food, it can overcome it's neighborhood limitations of little old ladies and impoverished Penn students. can someone remind me who the owners are, and why i'm supposed to hate them? thanks :huh:

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"ridiculous--1950s US snob versions of classic European food" such as lobster thermidor."

i walked by yesterday, and i must say i disagree with this assessment of the menu. the menu's theme is definitely "classic European" in nature, yet i think the ingredients and their combinations seemed fairly modern, eclectic and interesting. the prices are indeed high (entrées in high twenties and thirties) but who knows, maybe that is the formula for success. i think, like everything else in life, it's a matter of execution. if the place is putting out truly outstanding food, it can overcome it's neighborhood limitations of little old ladies and impoverished Penn students. can someone remind me who the owners are, and why i'm supposed to hate them? thanks :huh:

Yannii:

No one hates the owners of the new Meritage. They are Taylor Barnebey and James Colabelli. The only hate mongering on this thread has been dealt with and should no longer be an issue.

I am looking forward to seeing the wine selection that will be put together by sommelier Mr. Colabelli. I'd be very excited to have a nice neighborhoody kind of place to go have a nice glass of wine or two at the bar.

I hope their concept is functional for them. Although I personally have my doubts about a high priced country club/cruise ship classics menu, who's to say whether it will be a success or not. Olive Garden is filled every night, as is Le Bec Fin. There's a niche for everyone and plenty of potential customers to go around.

By the way, those Penn students are hardly impoverished if they can afford the rents in that area! And there's quite the population of Young Urban Professionals buying those little old ladies out of their homes in that area as well. If the membership of the Lombard Swim Club is any indice of the "neighborhood", there's a whole lot of young couples thereabouts. In fact, the very folks that used to pack the bar at the swim club are now petitioning to close down the bar because they don't want that "element" making noise and disturbing them and their new babies in their homes that overlook the pool club. They forget that a few short years ago THEY were that very "element". :rolleyes:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Very interesting insight about the LSC, Katie. I think, in fact, that many of the complainers are still patrons of the bar when they are not petitioning! (Now, if the club would just carve out a non-smoking zone on the top deck .....)

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Very interesting insight about the LSC, Katie. I think, in fact, that many of the complainers are still patrons of the bar when they are not petitioning! (Now, if the club would just carve out a non-smoking zone on the top deck .....)

vigna:

I can't really take credit for that observation. It came up in conversation the other night with Ali and I've heard same from some acquaintances that work the bar at LSC. Typical Yuppie hypocrisy though, n'est ce pas? NIMBY. :rolleyes:

I've only been a frequent guest at LSC. I was never flush enough to fork out the membership fees and since I haven't lived in that neighborhood in the last few years, it's not really worth looking into at this point when I could. But it's a club, and people go there to relax. Providing a bar is no different than providing the snack bar IMO. As long as the patrons of the bar aren't eligible for a "disturbing the peace" citation, it's OK. Or have the membership vote on it. I presume the hefty dues allow one the opportunity to be part of the democracy. :biggrin:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hello all, and thanks for your interest in

Meritage Philadelphia (20th and Lombard Streets, Philadelphia)

During the month of June, we are offering complimentary tastings of some

extraordinary Italian wines – Ceretto “La Bernardina” Viognier 1997,

Monsanto “Tincsvil” 1995, Oberto Dolcetto 1998,

and Carlo Giocosa “Montefico” Barbaresco 1993. (If you don’t know these

wonderful wines, we would love to enlighten you!)

Please give us a call at 215.985.1922 to let us know when you would like to drop

by for a complimentary glass or to make a reservation for dinner. We are here Monday through Saturday, 5–11pm, and we look forward to making your acquaintance

and to serving you.

Sincerely,

James Colabelli, Proprietor.

Taylor Barnebey, Proprietor

ps. information on our restaurant is at

www.meritagephiladelphia.com

Edited by James Colabelli (log)
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In fact, the very folks that used to pack the bar at the swim club are now petitioning to close down the bar because they don't want that "element" making noise and disturbing them and their new babies in their homes that overlook the pool club. They forget that a few short years ago THEY were that very "element". :rolleyes:

Yea, a defining moment in a person's life is when he/she starts owning their home.

Young Democrat becomes middle-aged Republican.

Young rabble-rouser becomes boring neighborhood person.

Or so it was posited to me. Which I would agree with.

But anyway, that's probably as far off-topic as we should go.

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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  • 8 months later...
Yeah, the food will do the talking.  As it usually always does.

That is certainly the case, and as such, I'll make my first post to the Pennsylvania board (hello, people!) and share my experience.

My boyfriend and I decided to give Meritage a try last Wednesday, as in the blustery cold we didn't feel like walking more than a couple blocks from home and had been considering trying Meritage for some time. We were warmly greeted and promptly seated without reservation. Lots of things on the menu looked good, but our server strongly encouraged us to try the current Belgian tasting menu. Since we are both wine enthusiasts and the paired wines with 4 courses at $69/person seemed like a good deal, we decided to go for it. We were not disappointed.

The appetizer course--terrine of rabbit, foie gras, venison, and apple, with onion and raisin marmalade and endive salad--was huge, and perhaps my favorite dish of the evening. Very nice flavors set off well by the mustards, pickles, salads, etc it was served with. It was paired with a very nice, somewhat fruity white wine. The second course was cod braised in herbed green sauce, interestingly paired with a red wine that worked surprisingly well with the lemony fish. My boyfriend later declared this his favorite course of the night; I certainly enjoyed it, although it was very similar to a dish I make at home myself, so no big revelation to me.

The main course was roasted pork chop with onions and Chimay Cinq Cents-mustard sauce, gratin of brussel sprouts, and Flemish potatoes. The vegetables were excellent and so was the sauce on the pork chop. The pork was a little well done for my tastes, but then again, I only cook myself more-rare pork for myself when I've had the chance to freeze it first to be on the cautious side, so I'm not going to complain. Safety first!

The listed dessert was rhubarb and strawberry meringue tart, but apologetically we were instead served a Belgian chocolate mouse as they were out of the tart. No problems with the substitution on my account--I am a huge chocolate lover and this dessert was out of sight, especially when paired with a wonderful fruity dessert wine. As much as I loved it, I was actually so full by this point I couldn't finish mine off! I only had room for some French-press coffee to take the edge off the serious alcohol and good-food buzz I was feeling.

Overall my impression of Meritage was very high by the end of the night. The service was excellent, very friendly and comfortable. The somnelier did a great job of introducing each wine and I was glad to have chosen the tasting menu for the experience. I'll definitely keep an eye on their upcoming tasting menus and will be glad to go back as much as the budget will allow.

sockii

__________________

| South Jersey Foodie |

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Yeah, the food will do the talking.  As it usually always does.

That is certainly the case, and as such, I'll make my first post to the Pennsylvania board (hello, people!) and share my experience.

Welcome, and your review has tempted me. I look forward to enjoying Meritage's pork, but as you do, I prefer it a little less well done.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Going Bottomless at Meritage Philadelphia

Since wine is such an important part of what Meritage Philadelphia is all about, we are offering a special way to help celebrate our first year anniversary of business: For the week of May 23-28 2005 we are offering bottomless glasses of wine. Simply order a glass of wine from our list, and your glass will never be empty for the rest of your meal. It’s our way of celebrating the special place wine has at Meritage Philadelphia, as well as a way of thanking our guests for their support.

Yours truly,

James Colabelli, DWS Sommelier/Proprietor

Taylor Barnebey Maitre d’/Proprietor

Grant Langdon Brown, Chef

Meritage Philadelphia

Classic Regional Cuisine

20th and Lombard Streets

Philadelphia, PA 19146

215.985.1922

www.meritagephiladelphia.com

Open Monday – Saturday for dinner, 5-11 pm

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