A few years ago, the decades-old neighborhood, The Village, underwent some big upgrades; new shiny apartments went up, along with new green spaces and several fine-dining restaurants. One of those was executive chef Junior Borges' Meridian
, a culinary nod to his native Brazil and, quite frankly, one of the prettiest dining rooms in the city.
When we got word that Borges introduced an X-Tudo [sheesh-tu-du] burger, which is popular in Brazil, during their new happy hour, our interest was piqued. Further, our FOMO switch was flipped after learning Meridian is only cranking out 10 of these burgers a day. Perhaps it's just a clever bit of marketing, regardless, it sounded good.
The caipirinha is Brazil's national cocktail and should be had any time at Meridian.
Lauren Drewes Daniels
When you enter Meridian, a long bar is to your left. The last two spots at the bar are primes seats; you can chat with the bartenders, watch Villagers walk their dogs outside, and hawk the food and wine as it passes from the kitchen to the dining room. An hour or so before sunset, shards of sunlight poke through the large canopy of trees just outside the west-facing floor-to-ceiling windows. Every 10 minutes the entire color palette inside changes.
Meridian's X-Tudo Burger rings in at $17 and is the most expensive item on the happy hour menu. It's made with two Rosewood wagyu fresh ground beef patties, two layers of melted Gruyère cheese, maitake (mushroom) aioli, a thick layer of shallot marmalade and malagueta pickles. All of this is stacked Jenga-like between a potato bun made by head baker David Madrid, who never disappoints with his pastry and bread program.
All told, the sheesh-tu-du is a hot wonderful Brazilian work of art. Rosewood wagyu is superior ground beef and the marmalade and cheese melt and mingle with a bit of grease for an amazing mix of textures and flavors. It all pushes the bun to within an inch of its life, but it holds up beautifully. We made the big mistake of splitting one between us — we weren't sure if we were committing to dinner or not. (Is this dinner? Or pre-diner? Is happy hour dinner?) Yes, it's dinner. Slide all your dinner chips across the table and get one just for yourself.
Beach cheese at Meridian
Lauren Drewes Daniels
We had a caipirinha (the official cocktail of Brazil) while we waited, and a beer with the burger along with a side of the yuca fries served with garlic aioli ($7). We added some beach cheese too, because any time you have a chance to get beach cheese, you simply should. This skewer of warm cheese is drizzled with a bit of hot honey and has slightly crispy edges, all of which is served over a small grill with herbs below to mimic a beach cookout.
When asked why just happy hour and why just 10 burgers a day, Borges said he wanted to create some excitement in the early dinner hours, adding, "limiting the quantities allows us to focus on showcasing the quality — from the house-baked bun to the fabulous meat and everything in-between.”
Happy hour, and thus the sheesh-tu-dus, runs Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday from 4:30 to 6 p.m. There are also $6 beers, select $9 cocktails, including caipirinhas, and $9 glasses of select wine.
Meridian, 5650 Village Glen Drive, 4:30 - 10 p.m. Tuesday - Sunday, Closed Monday