Hold 'n' Fold

Excellent seafood, iffy steak at Merkow's

It came back hotter with licks of melted butter across the surface. The steak-cutting ceremony revealed a warm center with a pinkish rose interior. The meat was packed with fat globules, highly elastic sinew and pockets of gristle. Although it was juicy, there was little flavor, save for whatever hints were deposited from that rosemary butter pad.

Steak Oscar, a tenderloin topped with crumbles of lump crab and lavished with béarnaise sauce, was dull and flushed with off, livery flavors.

We abruptly shifted back to the seafood. Pan-seared scallops, thick pucks soused in rock shrimp and garlic lemon butter sauce, were tender, sweet and delicious. Asparagus stalks and carrots accompanied them. Plus, there was a dollop of creamy polenta--a brilliant variation of the usual steak and potato.

Owner Gregg Merkow and his chef, brother Barry Moss, have nailed the fish but need work on the cow.
Tom Jenkins
Owner Gregg Merkow and his chef, brother Barry Moss, have nailed the fish but need work on the cow.


Ceviche martini $9

Firecracker shrimp $9

Sashimi tuna salad $14

Big-eye tuna $25

Rib eye $29

Sea scallops $25

Lobster scampi $28

Steak Oscar $32

Almond basket $8

Closed Location

Lobster scampi was harder to decipher. It's a set of Canadian cold-water lobster tails halved, sautéed in olive oil and dribbled with green butter sauce rendered from ground parsley, shallots and garlic. So far, so good. But the meat was loose and stringy, and the vegetable medley nestled at its side was littered with browning snap pea pods.

We finished with an almond basket: a gummy folded and pleated almond cracker cup jammed with vanilla bean ice cream, mango sorbet, fresh berries and raspberry and mango coulis--mostly a string of high notes.

Merkow's is a gambit for Merkow. He opened this slightly upscale seafood and steak (he insists he isn't competing with Kirby's down the street) house to capitalize a neighborhood shift: the scraping and retrofitting of Lower Greenville housing lots with imposing, simulated mansions. But if he wants it to pay off, he'd best capture the flare generally associated with the seafood creations and apply them to the steaks, both with better beef cuts and more skillful broiler performances. That or switch the moniker to Merkow's Seafood & Game.

2821 Greenville Ave., 214-821-2828. Open 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 5 p.m. -11 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday. $$$

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