Lighten Up

Tres Méridas offers a sensible form of global fusion

Enchiladas verdes a rojas could have suffered a shot of micro-beams, too. Fashioned out of "crunchy" chicken and slathered with salsa crowned with sour cream and cheese, the tortilla sheath was stiff, as were the innards.

As our meals progressed, we feared stiffness would become an overarching theme, instead of pulled meat in a blur. And when rigidity runs rampant in a dish like ceviche, the torrent of horrors can be unnerving. It arrived in a thick tall glass. The bleached-white meats--snapper, shrimp, calamari--contrasted sharply against the deep red of the thick tomato sauce that soaks them. But rather than being "cooked" in a citrus acid bath, the seafood was most likely poached before it ever saw a splash of lime. Shrimp were hard and bland. The calamari was stiff and chewy. The snapper was brittle with sharp corners. "It was like canned ceviche," complained one of my dining companions. "I think the whole restaurant is preprocessed."

Now that assessment is rash, but it's hard to get around the impression Tres Méridas leans a little heavy into shortcuts. Salmon Latino, an oregano-seasoned and grilled fillet studded with capers and drenched in butter sauce, was also rigid and brittle, breaking into dry crumbles instead of flaking into moist sections.

Tres Méridas' dining room is attractive, when you can see it.
Peter Calvin
Tres Méridas' dining room is attractive, when you can see it.

Details

Ceviche $8
Tortilla Española $5
Tortilla soup $4
Skewers $8
Marinated pork $15
Pulled beef $13
Pasticho $12
Salmon Latino $17
Chicken enchiladas $10
Closed Location

Yet other dishes worked to dispel the notion. Plato de pinches combinados, a collection of bell pepper- and onion-infested pork, beef and chicken skewers, features juicy and tasty pieces of meat. Tortilla soup was thick, rich and hearty, and not overly punched with pepper.

Yet the biggest surprise was the pasticho, a Venezuelan pasta composition that resembles a slab of lasagna. Despite its rustic pedigree, a breed that simultaneously flaunts ground beef and ham, the dish is delicate, even elegant. Its crown is a luxuriously smooth béchamel sauce with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

So not everything here is hard and brittle; not everything sports bizarre temperature extremes; not everything demands that you squint and scrunch to focus. Then again, blurs are not uncommon when the forte is pulled meat.

2809 Preston Road, Suite 1200, Frisco, 972-334-0937. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday & Saturday. $$

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