Christmas week with our families was definitely enjoyable, though fatiguing for an introvert like myself.
At the end of Christmas week, we said our farewells. We headed towards The Elephant Walk in Stillwater, MN, stopping at Meritage in downtown St. Paul, for moules frites.
We have loved Meritage’s moules frites, from first bite. It’s the only thing Jake ever orders and we’ve yet to find better. The mussels are always plump and there’s nary a closed one. It’s beyond me that restaurants charge customers for mussels by the pound, yet plate closed mussels. How hard is it to check? This doesn’t happen here.
The fries are every bit as good, if not better than Barbette’s. The smokey, winey broth entices us back. We usually fill up on the charred bread, leaving little room for frites. And the soggy slice on the bottom of the bowl is my favorite.
Fortunately, we arrived during happy hour (Monday-Friday from 3-6 p.m.) which offers discounted food and beverages. Instead of chicken fingers and quesadillas, try $8 steak tartare and $5 duck confit pizza.
We shared this addictive bowl of warm, marinated olives, $5.
Then, there was the real, roasted bone marrow for only $5. I’d only seen Anthony Bourdain swoon over bone marrow on television but hadn’t encountered it in restaurants. Bourdain has mentioned that he’d choose bone marrow and parsley salad as his last meal and I have never forgotten this. Jake was just as curious.
Our wait was over.
The split bone arrived sizzling hot. It was served with toasted bread and sweet, shallot confit.
We gently scooped out the more solid bits and we ran the toasted bread through the golden drips.
It struck me like animal butter. Not so much the byproduct but the essence of. It tasted like the bits of chewy fat that line a steak. Rich in flavor with none of the gristle. Combined with the sweet, jammy onions, it was as satisfying as we hoped.
The dish regularly costs about $10.50 on the bar menu, but happy hour or not, it’s worth a taste.
Dear restaurants in Minneapolis-St. Paul and Fargo-Moorhead,
Please serve more bone marrow.