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Michele & Irene
Michele DiPietro & Irene Landy, the owners of Meritage and longtime front-of-the-house veterans with stops at Tony Clark, Buddakan, and the Happy Rooster, infused new life into their restaurant on the corner of 20thand Lombard streets in Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse neighborhood. There’s a new executive chef, Anne Coll; a new budget-conscious menu with an expanded bar and an entirely new décor in the 55-seat dining room.
The wine list – praised by both “Wine Spectator” and “Wine Enthusiast” for years – is still impressive, but has more wines by the glass, wine flights and bottled wines for under $50. And Irene will still be behind the bar, serving her signature cocktail, the “Irene Somethin Somethin.”
Anne Coll’s vision for the menu at Meritage draws heavily from that storied past, blending traditional French techniques with Asian flavor profiles, but she is also influenced heavily by the tastes of today – and budgets. “I really want our menu to be filled with smaller plates and sharable dishes. That’s what people like, I know I’d rather taste a little bit of a few things, than having a whole lot of just one thing!”
The Media-raised Chef’s long-standing interest in Asian cooking is obvious in the menu's many fusion accents. Anne was executive chef for 6 years at Susanna Foo's on Walnut Street, following formative experiences at Le Bec-Fin and Savona.
“What separates Coll from so many other fusion pretenders is the command of Asian ingredients that allows her to draw an uncommon depth and elegance of flavors.” (Craig Laban, Philadelphia Inquirer)