One of the many restaurants opening their doors this summer is Meridian, championed by superstar executive chef Junior Borges. Meridian is being renowned as a modern take on Brazilian cuisine. So, for all the carnivorous meat molesting rodizio junkies who like to eat their weight in roasted meats, this is different. Chef Borges brings a sophisticated variation of Brazilian cuisine that has been cultivated from the vast tapestry of his own South American roots. Brazil, like the U.S., has a rich and extensive multicultural backdrop. Almost half of the population of Brazil stems from African heritage. That’s along with the indigenous, Portuguese, Japanese, Italian, French, Lebanese and other influences that contribute to Borges culinary concept.
I sincerely tried my hardest not to hyper-sexualize this place because of the insensitive stereotypes portrayed in everything we know about Brazil. But walking into the restaurant for the first time is just that: sexy. The restaurant has a chic ultra-modern layout with sprigs of plant life decorating the walls from top to bottom and brown canvas bohemian lamps. This could easily be a highly sought-after Sunday Funday destination for the Brunch Bunch. I vehemently recommend Brazil’s national drink, caipirinha, made with cachaca, sugar and lime. Here’s a secret between me and you, ask them to add passion fruit juice. I generally don’t drink anything with more than one ingredient, but this was hands down the best caipirinha I have ever laid lips on.
The fried cheese is a throwback to Borges’ youth, growing up near the beaches of Rio. Vendors would haul around fried cheese on a stick to eager beachgoers. But Borges clearly knows how to levitate this simple and savory treat. It comes toasted and slathered with a sweet honey glaze all on a table-top smoker that burns a special blend of herbs that penetrates the cheese.
Next was the fluke tartare. The fish was perfect in a pool of finger lime vinaigrette and pickled myoga. The bonito cream was the perfect addition to this dish and brought all the happy ingredients together for a samba symphony for my mouth.
And for the grandiose finale, I had the popular Blue Prawn Moqueca (fish stew) with charred plantain and coconut broth, dende oil, and steamed rice. This dish was inspired by chef Borges’ Bahía-born grandmother. He wanted to share a piece of his story through the traditional Bahía seafood stew and it definitely can be felt. Prawns were cooked flawlessly and the mildly sweet creamy broth gave a feeling of comfort and warmth like only an avó (grandmother) can.
Most of the ingredients are farmed and locally sourced, which makes what Borges does to this amazing menu even more incredible. I sincerely cannot wait to get back and try the Snake River wagyu and the grilled octopus. With all the pandemonium and uncertainty in the world of travel, it’s hard to tell when we will be able to travel to Brazil and consume all of its priceless treasures. But if you are looking to try a slice of elevated Brazilian cuisine, I am absolutely certain you will have a memorable experience in Dallas’ new Brazilian destination.
Meridian, 5650 Village Glen Drive. 4:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday - Sunday. Closed Monday.