It's not often we say this, but we're kinda envious of Meridian right now. Not only did the chain-dominated food scene recently get an infusion of local with Muse Bistro and Wine Bar, Lucky Fins Seafood Grill and Shige Teriyaki, but now two more rad spots have opened.
Shige and Deborah Matsuzawa have extended their downtown Boise sushi empire even further with the recent addition of Shige Express in Meridian, dubbed "the largest sushi bar in Idaho."
Like Shige Express in Boise, the Meridian offshoot offers a 40-seat bar with floating $1 sushi and a "floating boat bar" with apps, desserts and entrees. More traditional diners can also order off an extensive menu. Shige Express Meridian is located at 450 S. Meridian Road, Ste. 90A.
And in an interesting twist, the spot shares hallways and bathrooms with Meridian's other newbie, Shanaz Home Kitchen Cuisine and Catering.
"Shige is my brother-in-law, and I worked for him for almost 20 years," explained co-owner and chef Shanaz Davis.
Shanaz Home Kitchen quietly propped open its doors at 500 S. Main St. in Meridian just more than two weeks ago. Husband and wife owners James and Shanaz Davis both work the kitchen, dishing up fusion Southern comfort food.
"We try and put an island twist into our food, as well," said Shanaz. "I'm Polynesian and my husband's African American."
Menu items include Jambalaya-stuffed peppers with chicken and Andouille sausage, fried mac 'n' cheese balls and seafood gumbo, available Friday and Saturday only.
"The gumbo has been a hit," said Shanaz. "For not doing any advertising, we've got regular customers that have been there seven times so far in two weeks."
Shanaz Home Kitchen will soon be open for breakfast on Sundays, which will include the meat-loaded Slap Your Mama Hash.
If you'd prefer some south of the border mama slappin', Costa Vida officially opened Feb. 24 in The Grove. The Mexican chain makes its own tortillas from scratch. In addition to enchiladas and quesadillas, the joint offers a Chipotle-esque build-your-own taco and burrito bar with options like sweet pork and raspberry chipotle chicken, served up with sides like cilantro lime rice and black beans.