Monday, January 25, 2010

Restaurant: Melt

Let me put this out there early: Melt is one of my favorite places in town. I especially love Sunday brunch, but their sandwiches and salads are incredible, too. Once before, I mentioned that I’ve been there. The last time we went, we didn’t check their hours and arrived at 8:01 p.m., just after they closed. Thankfully, they took our order anyway and we ate next door at the Northside Tavern. (Yes, beer is great with the Yeehaw Barbecue Seitan sandwich!)

I really appreciate all the vegan offerings at Melt. A brunch menu can easily be considered vegetarian because it’s full of eggs, cheese, white-flour pancakes or waffles and high-fructose corn “maple” syrup with few if any eggless options (oatmeal, anyone?) and few healthy or vegan choices. Especially after watching Food, Inc., I don’t know when I’m going to want to eat eggs again. At Melt, there are copious options and everything I’ve had has been super-tasty. They also serve what they call “clean” meats.

On Sunday, we went for brunch. We arrived around 11:20 or so. The line to order at the counter was out the door and it remained busy the entire time we were there. The friendly staff was unfazed, calmly taking orders, answering questions, and cutting through the line to deliver plates to hungry customers.

We started by sharing a vegan donut. After waiting our turn in line for a few minutes watching them sitting in the display case just looking so yummy, we couldn’t resist. I’ve never had a vegan donut and was curious to taste. They come from Sweet Water Bakehouse, a place that seems to be most known for making wedding cakes. This donut was really good, and I think I liked it a lot more than Alex did. He also likes typical donuts much more than I do. It was cakey and flavorful and not overpoweringly sweet.

The brunch menu has some new offerings since the last time we were there, and I tried the vegan sausage biscuits and gravy. I seriously considered the huevos rancheros, as well as my old standby -- the rosemary redskin mess made with tofu scramble. We both remembered how good the biscuits at Melt are, and I was excited to try a vegan version of gravy and sausage. The biscuits were huge, and the gravy was poured over them, filling the bowl. There were chopped chives on top and chunks of vegan sausage in the gravy. I really, really liked this. Probably the best vegan gravy I’ve had. It was peppery and thick and the perfect compliment to the biscuits. I also got to choose a side, and I went for the tofu scramble. I’ve never had tofu scramble anywhere but Melt, but man – it’s good! This is a also a little spicy and certainly firmer than eating chicken eggs. I think the side portion was much more food than was necessary, but since when do we complain about being served too much food?

restaurant 018 restaurant 024 Vegan Biscuits ‘n’ Gravy, $8.75

Alex ordered the veggie bacon and eggs melt, which is scrambled cage-free eggs, veggie bacon, and mozzarella cheese melted between sliced ciabatta. We didn’t read the menu carefully, because Alex really wanted a biscuit. Twice previously he’d ordered this and it came not as a melt, but in a biscuit sandwich. Of course he liked it – the ciabatta is really good, it comes from Shadeau Breads, and the veggie bacon is what makes this sandwich so special. It’s crisp, and although it’s not quite like pork bacon (not that I’d want it to be), it’s got a good, smoky flavor and it’s not greasy. It’s worth asking, next time, if they can serve it on the biscuit. I doubt they’ll say no. His side? Rosemary redskins. These days, they’re leaving the curry catsup on the tables.

restaurant 023 Veggie Bacon & Eggs Melt with side Rosemary Redskins, $8.75

Aaah. I know food is good when I want it again after looking at the photographs. I hope this proves that Melt is a great brunch spot. My only complaint is that they only serve this yummy menu on Sunday from 11-2. For someone like me, waiting until 11 is the hardest part.

Melt on Urbanspoon

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