Fans of Jan Kelly, former head chef of now-defunct Barossa, were excited when she opened her own restaurant back in Mid-August. Located just west of downtown, in a cozy little space on Vliet, the casually chic Meritage serves a creative medley of contemporary fare that changes seasonally.
I myself loved Barossa and was equally delighted with my experience at Meritage a couple of weeks ago. Appetizer selections are reasonably priced from $4.50 - $7 and include the typical bruschetta, salad, and soup, as well as a leek and ricotta tart, lamb sliders or Chinese BBQ lamb ribs for the more adventurous. I started with the House Salad ($4.50) which is served in a deep bowl chock full of crisp, leafy greens and seasonal vegetables with the vinaigrette of choice. Two of the other people in our party had bowls brimming with a hearty pot roast and sauerkraut soup. Frankly, the combination didn’t sound that appetizing, but after sampling a small taste, I found the meaty texture highly appealing for a cold winter’s night.
Entrées range from $14 to $20 and offer something for both vegetarians and meat lovers. We sampled the grilled Caesar and scallop salad ($17), made from a combination of scallops wrapped Wilson farms pepper bacon and (seared) romaine lettuce. It may sound odd, but trust me people, it works. The beer braised short ribs ($18) and the veal meatballs also found favor with our table, but I think my dish was the best. One of the specials for the evening, the stuffed eggplant was filled with diced tomatoes, spices, and what I’m pretty sure was chopped fresh spinach; it abounded with flavor and was so filling that I could only finish half.
With affordable prices, attentive service, and menu that embraces organic and locally grown fare, Meritage should certainly make foodies from Milwaukee and beyond sit up and take notice.
5921 W. Vliet Street