CHEF JOHN’S SEASONAL CULINARY GUIDE
A LOOK AT THE BEST OF THE SEASON ON THE NORTH COAST
Our unique surroundings on the Oregon coast offer unending bounty from the sea and from the land. The Meridian Chef Team, led by Executive Chef John Nelson, shares a deep enthusiasm for the abundant offerings of our coastal region and a passion for procuring the best ingredients our local purveyors have to offer each season.
We stopped by Meridian to chat with Chef John about this season’s special menu offerings. As always, his wealth of knowledge and stories about growing up in Northwest’s fishing culture were a delight to hear.
Meridian recently launched a new dinner menu – can you share what is new and what you are particularly excited about?
Chef John: We are truly fortunate here on the coast to be able to continually revise and reinvent our offerings according to seasonally available ingredients Right now wild steelhead are running, and ours comes from the Quinalt River, located within the Quinalt Indian Reservation. The reservation is in an incredibly beautiful spot in the southwest corner of Washingtons Olympic National Park, stretching from Pacific Ocean to the Olympic Mountains. We serve our steelhead grilled with a savory sabayon glaze and pair it with saké marinated cucumber and trout roe. We’re also excited to have sturgeon back on the Meridian menu. It’s truly a unique treat. My childhood was rooted in fishing and foraging, and I grew up fishing sturgeon. In fact, as a kid I was a deckhand on a sturgeon charter boat close to my home, located near the mouth of the Columbia River. We serve our sturgeon with a smoked cucumber chow chow that balances perfectly with the mild, delicate flavor of the sturgeon.
Another new feature is the NW Braised Beef Pot Pie, it’s a nod to the warming comfort foods of the season and is rapidly becoming a guest favorite!
And of course–Dungeness crab! Currently featured in our Beachcombers Stew, this is an ideal time of the year to enjoy this wonderful crab. Beginning in early December and as weather permits, we get our Dungeness Crab from the Cape Kiwanda Dory Boats that launch from and land on the beach below Meridian.
Can you share your idea of a perfect meal at Meridian?
Chef John: There’s so many options, but two come to mind. Each season we create a special four-course Chefs Tasting Menu with Oregon wine pairings. This season’s is one of my favorites. It includes Char-Grilled Octopus, a Smoked Salmon Romaine Salad, Grilled Sturgeon, and a chefs-inspiration dessert. My other ideal Meridian meal would be to “order-in” and spend hours watching the evening light change over the Pacific from my guest room balcony. I’d likely order the Oysters on the Half Shell (our waters are the perfect temperature for oysters right now). I might also order the NW Cured Meat and Cheese plate, it’s perfect for sharing. And I’d absolutely save room for dessert. Our team created a special “Northwest Nightcap” that features a chocolate and whiskey pairing from our friends at A Yen for Chocolate and Bull Run Whiskey.