A restaurant in Dallas received a nod from the international magazine Robb Report: Meridiancelebrity chef Junior Borges’ acclaimed restaurant, landed a spot on the publication’s annual list of America’s 10 Best New Restaurants, coming in at a commendable No. 5 on the list, alongside bustling Houston restaurant March, and eight other great restaurants around the world. United States
Robb Report considers himself an expert in the field of luxury and is known for his numerous lists on topics such as the most anticipated restaurants, the most beautiful restaurants and, most famously, his 50 best restaurants in the world.
This list of the best novelties, published on June 14, highlights 10 establishments that “curate gourmet menus alongside fun and relaxed atmospheres”. They do have an apostrophe in that plural “menus”, the post seems to lack a copy editor. There also appears to be an error in the introduction to the listing, which removes the names of two restaurants that are not on the list – worth mentioning as one is Monarch, the Italian steakhouse in downtown Dallas. Was Monarch a competitor who was replaced at the last minute? Or are they just spreading the love.
The theme is not only the best, but also “fun”:
… As Robb Report traveled across America this past winter and spring, visiting restaurants in the wake of the Covid-19-battered industry for two years, we felt a new mood emerge. Offering exceptional cuisine was no longer enough. If a restaurant’s business recipe didn’t include a bit of cheer and bluster in an atmosphere of conviviality, it found itself noticeably emptier than those that did.
A population starved for the once routine act of going out wants to become big. Restaurants are more than willing to accommodate with theatrical table service and dishes that practically beg diners to pull out their phones and broadcast the opulence of their outings on social media. After two years of pandemic gloom, diners want a taste of the good life, and America’s best new restaurants are giving it to them.
The list is compiled by Robb Report food editor Jeremy Repanich, along with digital editor Justin Fenner, and to his credit has included Texas restaurants and chefs, which some arrogant coastal publications have ignored in the past.
Meridian is the exciting Brazilian restaurant that opened in the Village of Dallas in 2021 and has won numerous accolades, including the 2022 CultureMap Award for Best Restaurant in Dallas, as well as Best New Restaurant in 2021. Borge was also nominated in 2021 for 10 Best Dallas Chefs. Additionally, Meridian was named to the 2022 list of Best New Restaurants by Texas monthly.
The Robb Report applauds Borges’ ability to “take the familiar and have fun with it”, fun being the theme.
At chef Junior Borges’ modern Brazilian restaurant, Meridian, he showcases cuisine from his childhood in Rio de Janeiro, then incorporates flavors from Texas and around the world. So a plate of capicola and pickles comes with Brazilian cheese tapioca fritters that are soft on the inside and perfectly crispy on the outside; the quail is stuffed with foie gras and served with a jus made from Brazilian goiabada guava paste; and there’s Texas Wagyu beef, but the steak on offer is picanha, a cut that was first popularized in its native land.
At the Meridian, Borges takes the familiar and plays with it. Restaurant menus are awash with Little Gem Caesar salads, but he opted for a kohlrabi-based version. In Meridian’s rendition, the slivers of German turnip provide a crisp, refreshing counterpoint to the anchovy-filled aioli they’re nestled in, while fresh mint leaves add a herbal punch to an already savory dish. It’s a testament to Borges that a salad can be so memorable.
The other Texas restaurant on the list is March, Houston’s much-loved Mediterranean fine-dining restaurant, which made an impressive No. 2 on the list. March has racked up his own string of accolades, including a nomination for Best Restaurant of 2022 at CultureMap’s annual Tastemaker Awards.
No. 1 on the list is San Ho Won, a San Francisco restaurant featuring Korean dishes from chefs and culinary veterans Corey Lee and Jeong-In Hwang.
Others on the list include Kasama, a Filipino restaurant in Chicago; Les Trois Chevaux, a Chinese restaurant using French techniques in New York; Horses, a Los Angeles spot from a team of husband-and-wife chefs; Audrey, a Nashville restaurant from celebrity chef Sean Brock; Tomo, an Asian tasting restaurant in Washington State; Mena, a New York restaurant with an international menu; and Callie, a Mediterranean spot in San Diego.