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March 9, 2009

Meli Cafe and Juicebar – Remix

by gastronomicbypass

Location -301 S. Halsted

In one word – Brunch

Food – Despite all the buzz I’d heard about this Greektown brunch spot, Meli—which is Greek for honey—wasn’t as sweet as I was expecting. The prices are good, the portions are ginormous, and the food is solid, but not spectacular. If you’re looking for something “foodie” or off the beaten path, go elsewhere for your lobster and potato gratin; Meli sticks pretty closely to your typical diner fare. However, with a huge selection of different omelets, frittatas, skillets, scrambles, pancakes, French toasts, crepes, wraps, paninis, sandwiches, salads, and more, there’s something for everyone on Meli’s menu. I chose the Vegetable Frittata with egg whites ($9.25), my Trusty Sidekick ordered French Toast ($7.95), fruit ($3.00), and coffee ($2.50), and our friend ordered Scrambled Eggs and Red Potatoes ($6.65) as well as the Banana Maple Crunch smoothie ($5.25). Our food came out quickly after we ordered and there was a lot of food on each plate. My frittata was huge, and while there was no “wow” flavor factor it offered a good texture schmorgusboard—the egg whites were pretty fluffy, the pieces of asparagus were slightly soft, the broccoli florets were crunchy, the slices of avocado were creamy, and on top of the entire frittata were two deli-sandwich slices of provolone: melty goodness. Unfortunately, the texture gods were not in my Trusty Sidekick’s corner; he didn’t care for his French Toast which was too soggy. Our friend enjoyed her Scrambled Eggs and roasted Red Potatoes, but the highlight of the meal was her Banana Maple Crunch smoothie, which I was initially against, thinking that Bananas and Maple Syrup would not taste good together. I was very wrong about this—the smoothie was thick and refreshing and had a great, toasty Banana flavor that wasn’t overly sweet or syrupy.

Drink – Lavazza coffee is available, along with freshly-squeezed juice and smoothies. Try the Banana Maple Smoothie, which tastes like a drinkable version of homemade banana bread. It blends together bananas, pecans, frozen non-fat yogurt, maple syrup, and whipped cream, but feel free to ask for yours without the whipped cream—it’s thick and rich enough without it.

Service – The hostess was fairly rude, and our waitress was still learning the ropes, but once we were seated and placed our order, our food was brought out quickly.

Scene – The restaurant is on the small side, so expect a crowded room with lots of tables crammed close to one another. You’ll see lots of couples, groups of friends, and families. Our biggest complaint was the music—it was too loud, and wasn’t very appropriate given that it was re-mixed dance music that made brunch feel like a spin class. The last thing you want when you’re carbo-loading is to feel like you’re supposed to be working out.

Dress – No need to dress up; you’ll fit right in with jeans and a sweater.

Cost – For food, drink, tax and tip, it was $15 per person. For all that food, it was a decent deal.

If you like, try… Tempo

written by hungry yuppie

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