I took some out of town guests to Meritage on Friday night. I have to say that I came away slightly disappointed.
The food was great. The, amuse of cream of tomato soup was outstanding, soft shell crab I had was incredible as an appetizer, my filet of beef was tender and full of flavor with a delicious cream / wine reduction, my chocolate trio of mouse, trifle and coconut tart was outstanding. My guests also had a baby lamb chop with risotto which was equally as outstanding, a summer gazpacho poured table side with a perfectly seared sea scallop in the middle, and their desserts / cheese plate was equally as wonderful. All for the bargain basement price of $33.07 and wine pairing of each course of $15 per head. Food cost wise it was worth every penny. The wines selected were nice, but nothing outstanding, but did work with each course, especially the first dry French chardonnay, and the dessert late harvest semillon, the middle course had a wine I didn't particularly enjoy, it was an off varitel of something that they usually blend into Borduex wines which escapes me right now, but I understand why it's blended instead of served 100%, it just had some off bitter / overly dry flavors.
The real disappointment came from sloppy service. I've dined at Meritage now for 3 times, and have had friends and family dine there and all came back with glowing reviews of the food but especially of the service. This time around though the service just didn't quite hit the mark. And it was all in the details more than anything else, for instance, the bread course, which was really tasty and still warm from the oven, came in waves instead of all at once, our bread server forgot a specific roll and had to come back to us instead of just waiting to serve it all at once, when our food came, every single course our wait staff had put the wrong plate in front of each person, even asking "Who had the beef?". At such a dining destination, we're really expecting them to be keen knowing who had what without asking, especially since the main courses had their choice of doneness, so when I got my steak a little too overdone from my asking, and my friend who is pregnant get served almost raw beef, there's a bit of alarm there and it's completely unsatisfactory / inexcusable. Our silverware was cleared after each course, but on several occasions they actually handed us our silverware instead of placing it on the table, reaching over the table a few times, and our water glasses were empty longer then they should have been, I've become accustomed to having it filled at almost every opportunity at previous dining experiences there. Only two of the diners at our table had the wine service out of four, but instead of clearing the wine glasses of the other diners, they were just left there and use to pour separate wines from course one to course two, and when they were empty, they were never wisked away with each course / we were never asked if we wanted more. It was quite the clutter at the end of our meal with four empty wine glasses that had no use whatsoever. Our servers were kind and had the right attitude, and did their jobs, but it felt like they were doing the bare minimum instead of going the extra mile like they had in previous experiences. It just left a slightly bad taste in my mouth and although I will return, having good friends who I haven't seen in years, I wanted to impress them, and I left feeling a little embarrassed.