In The Village’s biggest makeover yet, a series of gathering places like the Drey Hotel, a sports bar, a country club and a coffee shop were added. Juxtaposed, you can find an authentic upscale Brazilian restaurant conceptualized by a South American native.

Before leaving the kitchen at his restaurant, Chef Borges curated the Meridian — from the restaurant’s garden to the menu. 

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He was born and raised in Mimoso do Sul, located in the northeastern region of Brazil. The state’s culture  — and cuisine — was heavily influenced by Europe and West Africa.

“This is a representation of things that I grew up eating, from memories of my grandmother and memories of me on the beach,” he says.

The menu is rotating with seasonal and traditional items.

“It was important how we showcased Brazilian cuisines and Brazilian flavors beyond the steakhouses that most people know,” Borges says. 

The $68 rosewood Wagyu picanha’s flavors are enhanced by a wood fire, and the beef rump is served with a squared-cut crispy potato pavé, chimichurri and smoked leeks. 

The Kohlrabi Caesar salad ($16), made with a spiralized German-Swiss cabbage, a fried egg aïoli and aged pecorino, is a featured item.

Earlier this year, the menu was solely prix fixe, but it has since changed to a dual menu with both a la carte options and a $115 prix fixe with an optional $62 wine pairing. Restaurant goers can also grab a $24 Wagyu burger served with yuca fries.

Borges zig-zagged his way into the culinary world. He first studied nutrition before moving to New York City in the ’90s. 

Photography by Kelsey Shoemaker

“I knew that I wanted to be around food but didn’t know in exactly what capacity,” he says. 

His mother happened upon an ad for a cooking school. He couldn’t afford it. But Borges was already in love with the idea and started reading cookbooks, watching cooking shows and looking at recipes. 

For the next twelve years, he worked his way up the tricky restaurant hierarchy. In 2013, after two years as an executive chef at Mirador and Americano, Borges got a call to guest teach a six-week Brazilian cooking class as part of Central Market’s Passport program in Houston, Texas. 

“I checked with my friends to ask ‘Is this for real?’” he says. “And she said, ‘No, it’s pretty legit.’ And then I did my trip.”

After returning to New York, he met chefs from the Japanese restaurant Uchi who asked if he would be interested in opening another location in Dallas. 

Then, as the initial concept for The Village’s revamp started five years ago, he received a call. There was going to be a restaurant, and it needed a chef and a menu.

Two years after opening, Borges, who is now the vice president of culinary over all Village Dallas restaurants, was named as a 2023 James Beard semifinalist in the Outstanding Chef category for his work at Meridian.

“I wanted to create a place for people to come multiple times and experience a lot of different things,” he says.

CORRECTION: Edits have been made from the original version on Oct. 1 at 11:30 a.m. which incorrectly identified Chef Junior Borges as being from Bahia, as well as incorrectly identifying brigadeiro as an item on the tasting menu and Uchi as a Michelin-starred restaurant.