Pan-crisped chicken schnitzel slathered in smoky tomato butter and shaved Brussels sprouts. Bright-rare elk chops perched on a plate busy with wheat berries and roasted beets. Three bacon-scattered fried oysters, fat and supple over dollops of creamed spinach, hollandaise, and Sriracha. The glorious excess of dishes served amid the log walls and votive candelabra of Meridian-Kessler’s showpiece restaurant have a flair for the dramatic. But the flavors steal every scene, full-forked layers that begin with carefully sourced meats, all decked out in butters, creams, bacons, and sharp acidic relishes to cut through the richness. Inspired by Louisville-bred former chef Layton Roberts (who departed in February), the food has a German accent with a Southern twang, and that translates into a dialect we can all understand.
HOW ABOUT A NIGHTCAP: The after-dinner drink is alive and well at the bottom of Meridian’s dessert menu, taking the edge off the evening with a housemade limoncello (a liqueur known for its digestive benefits) or the deceivingly innocent-looking Keoke Coffee, a hot-booze parfait of brandy, Kahlua, and dark creme de cacao.
PREVIOUS MENTIONS: Best Restaurants 2008, 2010-11, 2013
5694 N. Meridian St., 317-466-1111, meridianonmeridian.com
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This article appeared in the May 2014 issue.