Le Meritage, Ready for Its Close-Up

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The concept at Le Meritage is a carbon copy of its sister restaurant, which is simply called Meritage and enjoys an expensive perch on Boston harbor.

As expressed in my recent review, I was turned off by the overly-engineered concept of bundling dishes by how their flavors line-up with wine characteristics. But as it turns out this is more than redeemed at Le Meritage by a chef who appears to have a free hand to build his menu around the concept.

Not only are most of chef Michael Farrell's dishes delicious, their presentations were in many cases stunningly lovely. The photo above is not some bit of PR food styling, but the actual appetizer-sized portion of the duck dish we were served one evening in the hotel restaurant's patio, as captured by the meager lens on a cell phone camera.

The duck was one of the choices filed under the menu's "fruity reds" section, though I liked it just fine with the Châteauneuf-du-Pape requisitioned from the "spicy/earthy reds" section of pairing recommendations. Realizing that you can of course pick whatever you want from wherever on the menu -- or disregard the wine concept and just order a martini -- goes a long way to smoothing everything over here.

Below are two more tableside shots of some head-turning dishes here, grouper over quinoa and crab and crawfish cake.

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