I was expecting some great eats at Melograno, a notion encouraged by several positive Chowhound posts, an article in Gourmet, and LaBan's three star review. What I received at the restaurant was decent fare, a sore throat, and passable service. So, no, it wasn't bad, but three stars?
The meal started off with a round of visually and appetizers. My breaded and fried chicken livers were outstanding. Texturally, they beat fried oysters hands down -- smooth and nearly creamy. The taste comes mostly from the breading spiked with mustard seeds, but the livers add a piquant flavor as well. Everything was right here.
Next. (The place starts to get crowded; it's one heck of a Friday night.) I ordered the Ravioli stuffed with beats and marscapone, surrounded by, I believe, a white whine and olive oil suace. This was just disappointing. First, even at $14, the dish was too skimpy. Four or five 2.5 by 2.5 inch squares does not constitue an entree (no sides mind you). The ravioli were not of great quality either. The pasta was slightly tough, but worse, the beets sweetness was all I could taste. Boo.
I should say that the Papperadelle with wild mushrooms and truffle oil was al dente, and pretty good, but could have used less truffle oil (yes, less). The fish special, bronzino?, was good but nothing distinguishable from other decent BYOs.
A Service note: We went forkless for 10 minutes. The waitress was overworked - I don't blame her - but the other staff members should have seen the problem. She also forgot to replace my fork for the final course...
Dessert. The list was unspectacular, but I can't really dock them for that, just felt I should note it. I chose the apple torte, because it sounded the most interesting. The round dessert arrived with some dessert sauces and strawberries, the temperature was lukewarm. The torte was of muffin (but moister) or bread pudding consistency. It was studded with raisins and pinenuts, and too heavily flavored with lemon. The only apple flavor came from two thin slices of baked apple that were more garnishment than edible.
Summary: I don't mean to be too harsh. It was good. But it was far from Matyson or Marigold good. I had a better meal at Bistro 7 as well (1 star mind you). The food was on par with Southwark and better than Farmacia, but slightly less interesting than both (appetizers notwithstanding).
A ray of hope...
I saw that other entree choices elicited more smiles than mine (the ravioli), but at a great restaurant all dishes should be smile-enducing. Try it if you must, and please tell me it was an off night.