Monday, April 7, 2008

Client meeting, Il Melograno, and Giorgio's of Gramercy

Favorite thing I've eaten all day: Kashi Good Friends Cinnamon-Raisin Cereal

Only thing I've eaten all day: See above

I'm in a nausea-inducing cab on my way to my promised 9AM client meeting, so I figured I'd begin to record my thoughts on some of the recent food experiences I had before starting this blog. Just because I happened to eat there before my blog baby was born doesn't mean they should be left out. That's just not fair.

Il Melograno

First up: Il Melograno, a little neighborhood Italian place a few blocks from my apartment. My brother and his girlfriend have been there several times and rave about it every time they go. I also feel a bit of a sense of ownership over this place, as I watched it go from plywood stage (as Eater would say) to full-blown restaurant over the course of last summer. I was rooting for it then, and I still am now. Based on my experience, they seem to be on the right track-- let's hope it continues.

I went with a friend from work who lives in the neighborhood. We started with their complimentary basket of delicious foccaccia-- light and flavorful, accompanied by a sun-dried tomato/oil spread. My companion got the spaghetti with tomato sauce, which was studded with alluringly melted hunks of mozzarella cheese. He enjoyed it immensely (and, in fact, had gotten it before). I went with the apple salad, which had arugula, apples, goat cheese... and some other things that I can't remember because this dinner happened over a week ago. I went with the house pomegranate dressing, and though I asked for it on the side (yes, I'm THAT kind of girl), they put it on the salad. I decided not to bother sending it back and ate it anyway, and it was really good, especially the drizzle of what I assume was pomegranate reduction all over the top. The salad was generously sized, and I ate it all.

We were both too full for dessert (yes, I'm THAT kind of girl who gets full on salad... see "stomach problems" in introductory post), but the table next to us was demolishing a big hunk of cake (apple cake perhaps?). I've really wanted to try the tiramisu, and I definitely plan to in the future. One of the greatest things about Melograno is that it's a ridiculously great value as well-- our total bill for the two of us was well under $20.* The place is kind of small and the tables are definitely jammed together, but it's great for a quick, casual, really good meal.

*A post-meal check of Il Melograno's website,, reveals that they may have raised their prices over the course of the last week. That, of course, would be profoundly uncool and would temper my enthusiasm for the place a little bit. But just a little bit.

Giorgio's of Gramercy

I took my brother to Giorgio's of Gramercy for his birthday mid-week last week. I had heard a lot about the place and had wanted to go there for a while. I made a reservation on Opentable and noted in the comments section that it was my brother's birthday, adding a request for a candle or something festive on his dessert. I was planning to remind the host when I arrived at the restaurant, but good ol' punctual Big Bro arrived before I did, so I had to rely on the wonders of Opentable to carry us through.

The restaurant was mostly empty, but it was certainly cute, candlelit, and romantic (probably better for a nice date than a dinner with your brother, but who's counting?). Our waiter was friendly and competent, attentive but not overbearing. We ordered two glasses of prosecco and placed our food order. Shortly thereafter an amuse bouche arrived--some sort of duck rillette concoction that looked nice (Big Bro ate both, on behalf of his vegetarian sister). The bread basket was on the better side of standard, and the accompanying olive oil was really good-- strong and fruity. Big Bro pronounced his onion soup very good; he followed that with an opulent scallop dish (cream, truffles, etc.) that, in the words of my father, he "sucked down." I ordered a spinach salad, which was really good-- the dressing, especially, was delicious. My only complaint was that they left off the caramelized shallots.

Then it came time for dessert, the most important time in any birthday dinner (or any dinner, if you ask me). Our waiter brought over the dessert menus, which were... profoundly disappointing. There was literally nothing on the menu that enticed-- not even the ice creams, a terrible selection, with not even vanilla included. For me to see a dessert menu with NOTHING I want to try is seriously bad news. As I told our waiter we would pass, he brought a complimentary tasting of dessert wine-- delicious, in an absolutely adorable cordial glass. And because we passed up the all-important birthday dessert, they brought over two chocolate-covered strawberries, on the house! Stunning, and a great cap-off to a great meal. I would certainly recommend Giorgio's for any special occasion, or even an entirely regular occasion, whenever tasty and reasonably-priced Italian food would fit the bill.

I'll admit that this entire blog entry was not written in a cab-- I finished it after I got home from work. A good thing, too, because a cab ride long enough to complete this entry would certainly be one of the inner circles in my version of hell. Now for some peppermint patties to cap off the evening... Have a good night, all!


Lawrence said...

So did you ever sing Happy Birthday to your brother? At least you got the free strawberries. I like your dad's definition of "sucking it down". I can somehow imagine that when in reference to your bro. Keep up the good work. Let's see some pics. Welcome to the blogosphere.

NinerNiner said...


Fortunately for him, I refrained from singing happy birthday-- due to my singing skills that's essentially the opposite of a birthday gift. Not only did we get free strawberries, but we went to ColdStone after, so it definitely all worked out in the end.