Meriwether's is like that great-looking, well-mannered girl in high school. She's always appropriately dressed; a solid B-student who'd never dream of slacking but isn't the type to show off. Which is too bad, because when chef Tommy Habetz does his version of making out beneath the bleachers—as he does with musky chicken-liver ravioli in brown butter—he scores. The crunchy-outside, yielding-within chickpea fritters are a study in what frittering should be, and that smack of chile in the warm chocolate baby cake? ¡Ay, Papi! There's a solid wine list and fantastic bread baked in-house, and anyone who isn't knocked out by the gorgeous sprawl of the open-year-round patio needs either an optometrist or an attitude adjustment. There are missteps. A white polenta with "roasted local mushrooms" and sherry is so loose as to be soup, and smoked salmon salad with chicories and almonds sits on the plate like party guests with nothing to say to one another. With as many as 25 items on the constantly changing menu (not including specials, desserts, lunch or brunch), one might wish for Habetz to pare back a bit and just give us the inspired, A-plus cooking he is clearly capable of and incredibly well-known for. (NR)
Signature dish: Chicken-liver ravioli.
Stand out: A patio par excellence, none better in this town.
Regrets: A dry-aged New York steak, never a particularly flavorful or tender cut, does not benefit from being butchered into a hard-to-cut 4-inch cube.