Situated on top of Berkeley Hill, the Claremont Hotel Club and Spa offers a breath-taking view of the Golden Gate Bridge — best at sunset. Complimenting the view, the resort’s restaurant — Meritage, introduces its brand new chef and menu with an exclusive tasting.
Scott Quinn, the new Chef de Cuisine, joined Meritage in October, 2012. Prior to this position, Quinn was Chef de Cuisine at Bagatelle in Los Angeles. With more than 15 years of kitchen experience, Quinn presented an impressive menu that masterfully combined contemporary Californian cuisine with an extensive selection of wines.
NOTE: All of the courses tasted are available on Meritage’s current menu. Estimate for a 3-course dinner for two with a bottle of wine is: $193. Also available: prix fixe 4-course wine pairing menu (tasting menu): $85/person without tax or gratuity
Join me and taste your way through an 8-course dinner (okay, more like 1 canapé, 6 courses, 1 dessert… wine included!)
The delicious meal started with Bacon — Bacon Wrapped Medjool Dates, and, by one of life’s small ironies, it also ended with Bacon — “Elvis” Bread Pudding (sprinkled with bits of bacon). I have no complaint about the arrangement for it wonderfully combined both flavors — saltiness and sweetness, as well as texture — crunchiness.
One course followed another, and it was like a merry-go-around ride. Beautiful in its presentation, each dish dazzled and screamed ‘fresh seasonal ingredients!’ It was a sumptuous feast! One of my favorites was the Oxtail Rillette. Paired with two pieces of baguette and pickled vegetables, the rilette looked suspiciously like an orange jello with the caramel-colored layer of oxtail fat on top.
I spread the rillette on top of my baguette and took a bite, Crunch. Hmm, definitely crunchy, I thought, then, an explosion. The rillette was rich, savory and with just the right amount of fattiness. As for the pickled vegetables, their tartness perfectly counterbalanced the oxtail fat. The Oxtail Rillette has got it all — the flavor, the kick, and the bite.
I was thoroughly delighted by Quinn’s interpretation of ‘Californian’ cuisine; he not only presented a diversified menu, he also prepared the food in such a way that brought out depth and complexity. Furthermore, I was deeply impressed with the selection of wines sampled and loved all of them.
The Meritage dining experience was fantastic!
For Valentines, would you consider this romantic spot?
2013 Tasting _ Menu
- Bacon Wrapped Medjool Dates
- Champagne Poached Pear Salad vs. Domaine Carneros “Le Reve”
- Roasted Baby Beet Salad vs. “Di Bruno” Sanford & Benefdict, Pinot Grigio
- Yellow Fin Tuna Tar Tar vs. Duckhorn Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc
- Maine Sea Scallops vs. Barnett-Sangiacomo Vineyard, Chardonnay
- Oxtail Rilette vs. Chimney Rock, Cabernet Sauvignon
- Sonoma Duck Breast vs. Kokumi, Pinot Noir
- “Elvis” Bread Pudding vs. Arrowood Late Harvest Riesling
PHOTO CREDIT (for all photos): ALVIN TAI
The Meritage at Claremont Hotel Club and Spa 41 Tunnel Road, Berkeley Beautiful ambiance, great service; the perfect place to take your date. Price Range $$$
Published in News for Chinese (Mar 1, 2013). Click here for 中文報導