Monday, October 5, 2009
Dinner at Meridian after Berkeley Rep
Yesterday, Mary Ann and I went to the Sunday afternoon performance of "American Idiot" at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre.
The show, based on Green Day's "American Idiot" rock opera, is an amazing production...it brought me memories of "Hair," "Rent," and "Tommy" with a bit of Cirque du Soleil thrown in (there is constant action all over the stage and up into the rafters). This is the world premier of "American Idiot". It has been extended twice, but must close on November 15. If this lively, poignant show does not go on to Broadway, I will be very surprised.
So after the show, we were revved up and famished...so much energy expended just being in the audience.
Our choice for an early dinner was the relatively-new sports bar and pub, Meridian International Sports Club. Meridian, is just a block away from Berkeley Rep, an easy walk from the theatre.
While we waited for Dean and Kirsten to join us, we got started with half-pint glasses of beer. About two dozen different brews are poured at Meridian. Since we were unfamiliar with many of the offerings, we relied on our server to help us make our selections. She was so knowledgeable of the characteristics of each beer we asked about, I could almost taste them from her descriptions. Mary Ann chose the dark Smithwick's while I went for the lighter Krusovice.
We ordered some Almond Breaded Cod Fingers to accompany our brews while we waited for Dean and Kirsten to arrive.
Once they arrived and ordered drinks, we ordered more small plates/side dishes: Ahi Tuna Poke and Duck Fat Fries.
For our main courses, we ladies ordered from the Classic Pub Fare portion of the menu. It was Fish and Chips for Kirsten
and Po Boy Sandwiches for Mary Ann and me...Mary Ann had her sandwich with Fried Oysters and I ordered mine with Fried Crawfish.
Dean started with a bowl of thick flavorful Butternut Squash Soup which was garnished with Sage Cream.
His main course was Cranberry Short Ribs which were served with a Wild Mushroom Risotto Cake.
We could not resist desserts to finish off our meal. We shared the Sticky Toffee Pudding with Tangerine Toffee Sauce and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and two orders of the Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches. Each order of Ice Cream Sandwiches has two sandwiches and a small cup of hot Mocha Sauce for dunking or drinking.
As you can gather, we thoroughly enjoyed the food, drinking, and knowledgeable staff.
Meridian is owned and designed by local resident and former UC Berkeley swimmer, Bayani Flores. The dining room is comfortable, with seating at tables, in booths, and at an oak-topped bar in the center of the dining room. From anywhere in the dining room, there is at least one television screen within view. Also there is free wireless internet. Last night, I noticed many who were taking advantage of both the sports on TV and the internet on their laptops. Meridian offers valet bicycle parking.
For those who prefer wine to beer, the reasonably-priced wine list features about two dozen wines, all offered by the glass or bottle.
Two fixed price meals are also offered. The $10 Student Lunch includes any Pub Fare selection and a non-alcoholic beverage. The Chef's Dinner for Two, priced at $59, includes a shared Small Plate, two Large Plates, a Dessert, and any bottle of wine from the wine list.
I must also mention that while a good portion of the menu, designed by 25-year-old Executive Chef, Brian Burris, features fried dishes (perfect compliment to beer), there are several non-fried dishes, including Vegetarian Lasagne, Seared Alaskan Halibut, Grilled Bangers and Mash, a Cheeseburger, a Vegan Falafel Mushroom Burger, and Chicken Sous-Vide. The menu changes seasonally.
Meridian accepts reservations, a sometimes rarity in popular casual Berkeley restaurants. I appreciate being able to make a reservation, particularly when I am heading to a performance or sports event nearby.
On home Cal game days, the free shuttle to the game stops near Meridian.