So, not being a sucker, or, at least, not one to freely admit that Im a sucker, I didnt go out to dinner on V-Day. No need to go to a restaurant on their worst night of the year, and, in some cases, pay MORE for the experience of eating on their worst night of the year. As the wife and I live only about 2 blocks from Melograno, frankly, theres something wrong with us for not having eaten there earlier. We popped in last night for an early-ish dinner, around 6:15 or so, no wait whatsoever. Honestly, had there been a wait, we could have just farted around in our apartment for awhile, no biggie.
Were seated immediately and in tow Ive got a bottle of a lovely Paul Bara Grand Cru Rose Champagne that weve had knocking around for awhile and the staff quickly swiped in flutes for us, decent flutes too. Its a really wordy menu. I feel like it took me forever to read it. Rather randomly Ive done a bit of menu writing and they sort of blow their wad on the menu. You dont want to list every ingredient; just enough to get them intrigued; then, when theyre interested and they ask, the server gives them the whole list of ingredients and then youre hooked. Minor point.
Our server gave us the list of specials, pretty tasty sounding: a seared tuna carpaccio (ok, ubiquitous at this point, which isnt to say it cant be tasty), some shrimp and scallop business, and the duck breast w/sweet potato gnocchi.
Bread basket was fine. The rolls with the oats and multigrain looking werent as good as the sourdough rolls. They didnt lend themselves as much to dipping in the warm olive oil either, maybe a bit too breakfast-y.
For our first course I get the shrimp & calamari salad with cannellini (sp?) beans and the wife gets the panzanella bread salad. Both were well done. The shrimp & calamari salad had a spicy tomato broth and some arugula thrown about. Bread guy knew what was up and came back to hook me up w/a new roll to sop up the puddling deliciousness on my plate. Shrimps were tasty; calamari could have used a smidge more snap. Wifes panzanella was a hit. Some frisee greens w/a really tasty tomato dressing and some great seemingly homemade mozzarella. Not a whole lot of bread in the bread salad, actually. Could have used more. The rose champagne paired excellently with this course.
Never one to ignore the screaming voices in my head, I ordered the duck as my entrée. I dont think Ive ever been asked how to cook my duck so I deferred to the server, who said medium rare is best. The basement places in Chinatown seldom ask me so hey, I dunno, whatever is great. I went with medium rare and actually, I think I might prefer it a smidge less done (though I suppose its possible this was an overdone medium rare but again, my knowledge of duck cooking time is lacking). Regardless, this was some good-ass duck. Tender, a bit of fat still under the skin but tender and delicious enough that that wasnt an issue. Skin might have been crispier but thats probably just a Chinatown bias in me. It came with some simply prepared asparagus spears and the sweet potato gnocchi. I thoroughly enjoyed my sweet potato gnocchi, but not as much as my wife thoroughly enjoyed my sweet potato gnocchi. Our forks clashed several times. She went with the thin chicken strips layered with eggplant, zucchini and cheese w/a tomato sauce. She really, really liked hers, as in she was dazzled. I got to say, tasting it I couldnt figure out how it was prepared to get the chicken so tender (chicken tasted like it may have had a lemon-caper marinade on it) without being buttery tender or oily tender. Very impressive. Same with the eggplant actually.
We decided to skip dessert and get the check (we wanted to hit Scoop Deville later, which we did, got a vanilla ice cream w/Nutella and sugar cookie dough, a hit). Note to others, if you receive any of those Visa gift cards that are for a set amount, make sure the server ringing you up knows to try the set dollar amount on the machine, e.g., if its a $50 gift card, make sure they only put $50 on it and dont just try to run it through like its your actual Visa or youll get rejected as the machine will default to trying to ring in your whole meal. So yeah, make sure you specify that to your server or you might get embarrassed. That aside, it was only $62 for the two of us before tip. We didnt have a lot of BYOs in Boston so this is a bit new for us getting out so cheap. We definitely regretted not trying the pasta so we think we'll be back soon.
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