Since this fine restaurant in not open on Mondays,
it is definitely worth pushing to a Tuesday!!!
Everything tastes better in French. Admit it. Would you rather eat mayo or aioli? A loaf of bread or a baguette? Velveeta or a little fromage? French fries or pommes frites? I rest my case.
For French cuisine in the Twin Cities, it's hard to beat Meritage, which was named Best French Restaurant by City Pages in 2010. For a quick, accessible and affordable way to see why, order the pommes frites, dip one of the delicate morsels into the side of sumptuous Bearnaise, close your eyes, and let your soul be whisked to a sidewalk cafe in gay Paris.
The element that lifts the pommes frites at Meritage from yummy to transcendental is the dipping sauce with which they're served. The fries themselves are lovely but comparable to those at other French restaurants in town, such as Barbette. Dipped in ketchup or ranch, they'd be just a slightly fancier version of your typical bar fare. But dip one in Meritage's Bearnaise sauce and they leap to a whole new level.
Bearnaise is a French sauce made with shallot, egg yolk, tarragon, and an unholy amount of butter. It is a close relative of Hollandaise, which uses lemon instead of tarragon. Impossibly rich, delicate, and nuanced, the sauce clings to the tip of each fry and elevates it from salty snack to a sublime indulgence.
The fries come in a paper-lined cone, the bottom of which you hope never to reach. But reach it you quickly will, as every hand at the table reaches for another fry and plunges them into the inviting yellow Bearnaise. Better just go ahead and order two.
410 St. Peter St., St. Paul