Restaurants / Openings

One of Dallas’ Best Chefs Debuts His Modern Brazilian Masterpiece — A First Taste of Meridian

The Showstopper of a Dozen Dining Concepts at The Village Apartments Opened This Spring

BY // 06.03.21

After two years of planning (and a pandemic), the chef-driven restaurant anchoring the opening of 12 new dining concepts (yes, 12) led by Junior Borges, one of Dallas’ biggest culinary talents, is finally open at The Village Dallas — and it’s a true showstopper. Meridian, a new American restaurant, is inspired by Borges’ Brazillian roots.

Borges’ role at the Village is a comeback of sorts for the former New York chef, who has been working quietly behind the Dallas kitchen scenes after splashy stints at Mirador and Uchi. But first, a little about The Village. The community near Southern Methodist University was designed in the late 1960s to be a walkable hub for college grads and young professionals. Now, the 300-acre development is undergoing a major revamp, which includes a new luxury residential building, The Village Drey, the upcoming Drey Hotel, and a new street down the middle of the insular community that will house more than a dozen food concepts, a commissary, a food hall, and a boutique grocery store.

Meridian Dallas
Meridian’s interior is a combination of sleek and comfortable. (Courtesy of Meridian)

Meridian’s interior is a combination of sleek and comfortable. Warm lighting, booths, and cozy tables are spread out around the open-concept kitchen where you can actually see chef Borges plating dishes under heat lamps. A long bar lines the entrance allowing happy hour-goers and cocktail sippers to have their own space to relax. An outdoor patio with twinkly lights and umbrellas offers al fresco dining for those looking to dine in the fresh air.

As we sit down at our table, our server explains that everything on the menu was inspired by chef Borges’ childhood in Brazil, with the exception of a few Japanese dishes. (Borges was the first executive chef at Uchi Dallas.) The cocktail menu is also unique. I ordered the Untitled, 1962 with gin, Amaro Montenegro, papaya, lime, and egg white. Little black sesame seeds garnish the foam. There’s also Meridian’s play on the classic Manhattan — The 46th Street. It’s made with a coffee-infused “La Copa” sweet vermouth.

Meridian Dallas
Everything is prepared fresh at Meridian. They even have a garden for herbs and vegetables. (Courtesy)

Most things are meant to be shared at Meridian. From snacks to small plates and pastas, there are a lot of intriguing options to choose from. We started with the daily bread, which comes with marbled butter, whipped lardo, and olive oil with saba. The restaurant has its own garden, so vegetables and herbs are grown fresh and rotate with what’s in season.

Next, we tried the grilled “Beach Cheese,” which our server explained was an item chef Borges would frequently eat as a kid in Brazil. But beware, it definitely has a kick. The stick of cheese is served on a small, personal grill, hovering over fresh rosemary. Ask to keep it on your table during your meal — it smells great. Topped with hot honey, oregano, and lime, the beach cheese is flavorful and worth the spice.

The Casoncelli pasta with sun gold tomatoes and arugula honey pesto was the star of the evening. We couldn’t get enough of the little pastas stuffed with taleggio cheese and each topped with its own orange tomato. We also tried the Iberico pork loin, two tender pieces of pork with field pea ragout, ramp kraut, and mustard greens. The pork jus it comes drowned in was my favorite part.

And for dessert, don’t leave without ordering the yucca and coconut cake. A dish that Borges’ grandmother used to make, it comes it several square-shaped bites of yucca and coconut cake, each topped with a lime ganache. The coconut sable cookies that it’s accompanied with were a crunchy plus.

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