6 July, 2010

Cafe Meridian

Posted in : Dining in Durham - NC, Restaurants on by : The Gourmez

Café Meridian
2500 Meridian Parkway & Highway 55
RTP/South Durham
Hours: 11-2 Monday through Friday
Whole sandwiches and a side: $5.75–$7
Daily special entrees: $4.99–$8.99

Café Meridian comes just before the Highway 55 and 54 crossroads, across the road from Sansui Sushi. Months (years?) ago I saw that they were opening up for lunch soon, then promptly forgot until I passed it last week and saw their big banners advertising that they were open. Inside, you order at the counter,

which is loaded with portions of their hearty entrée options like the big burrito that comes stuffed to bursting and slathered with a red sauce (customers in lined chattered about how good it is), salmon with a mandarin orange sauce, stuffed chicken breasts, frittata wedges, large spanakopitas, and their side salads offerings that include fresh fruit, caesar, garden, macaroni and carrot, black bean and corn, broccoli, potato, and orzo. Their main fare appears to be sandwiches and salads, which they prepare once you place your order at that counter. You can get half sandwiches, too, which I always appreciate.

There is plenty of outside and inside seating, and they seem to be quite popular with the RTP lunch crowd. The interior is painted in red, green, and black, and is more inviting than you usually expect for a lunch spot.

Plus, the staff was super friendly, both the people behind the counter and the woman working the register who seemed to know a number of the regulars.

I decided on a half chicken pesto sandwich.

I think I’d call that a whole sandwich. It was pressed panini-style, like all of their grilled sandwiches. The chicken was moist and flavorful. I enjoyed how the somewhat bitter mixed greens and tangy, roasted bell peppers combined with the pesto’s richness. Serving it with muenster rather than provolone or mozzeralla was a bit of a curveball, but the extra punch of flavor from that cheese was welcome. It was a darn good chicken pesto, if not quite up there with the divine one from Zoccoli’s Deli in my adopted hometown of Santa Cruz, CA.

My potato salad side was also pretty tasty.

The dijon mustard element was stronger than I like, but the sauce was creamy enough to stand up to that. There was also dill mixed in, and the red-skin potatoes were great.

I also tried their lemon pound cake ($2.50).

It was dense and had plenty of moisture and lemony vibrancy. I would call it an average slice of pound cake.

Café Meridian made a great sandwich and definitely had me eyeing that burrito for a return visit. It’s a shame they are only open for three hours a day, because this night owl often doesn’t make it out to lunch until later.

3 stars

3 stars

Reviewed 7.1.10.

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