Menu Details: Ceaser Salad, Asparagus Vinaigrette, Drivers Scallops On Corn & Pepper Sambal, Parisian Grilled Hanger Steak, Creap Maisson
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Many of today's young restaurateurs could learn a trick or two from Bernard Ros, the genial Frenchman who owns Meli Melo, a charming Parisian-style eatery on lower Madison Avenue. This 30-year veteran of the industry has discovered the key to long-term success: generous portions of well-prepared food at remarkably reasonable prices. Indeed, his prix-fixe deals ($25 at lunch, $35 at dinner) are among the best bargains in town.Review By: Brian Scott Lipton
Keeping with his European tradition, Ros always sends out an amuse-bouche to begin the meal, such as an appealing gorgonzola mini-quiche. It's a nice touch, but hardly necessary, since one could easily make a meal out of many of the appetizers. An enormous platter of mozzarella, tomato and basil or a hearty slab of country pate are each big enough to suffice for lunch. A tower of tuna tartare is less intimidating, and given an up-to-the-minute twist by a crown of wasabi caviar.
The kitchen takes special care with fish, preparing salmon precisely to order, and making sure shrimp is not overcooked. But the menu's top honors go to a beautifully cooked, wonderfully beefy hangar steak in an authentic shallot sauce. Serving it with both matchstick fries and mashed potatoes, not to mention setting it atop a bed of spinach, is typical of the house's desire to please.
Desserts here are unusually artful, such as the almost-too-pretty-to-eat Chocolate Temptation or a visually appealing Tarte Tatin. But you will want to eat them, I assure you. For decadence beyond compare, however, order the Chocolat Fondant, which is really a happy mess of hot ooey-gooey chocolate enclosed in an enormous wrap of puff pastry. Vive la France, indeed!
Neighborhood: Flatiron District
Payment: Amex Visa Mastercard