I’ve recently realized that I have plenty of options for dining out in Cincinnati, so I’ve started taking my camera with me more often again. I’ve posted on Melt before, but for brunch. We recently went for dinner – keeping in mind they close at 8:00 p.m. I remember that closing time because we missed it once. If you find yourself there between 8 and 9, head next door to Picnic & Pantry, their new micromarket and specialty foods shop that also stocks Melt’s pre-made sandwiches and salads. While we waited for our meals, I wandered over to see what they have to offer and wasn’t impressed, but if I lived closer I could imagine myself dropping in for items not available at the typical supermarket.
Alex is a big eater and has mentioned before that he sometimes feels hungry after getting a just sandwich at Melt. I’m typically satisfied with the portions, but I agreed to split a salad. We chose the Spring Roll Toss, made with baby spinach, shredded carrots, cilantro, bean sprouts, red bell pepper, cucumber, and toasted almonds. The house-made dressing was a delicious ginger-hoisin vinaigrette. Even with all the toppings, this salad didn’t feel remarkable. The dressing was good, but this wasn’t our main event anyway.
I chose a sandwich that I’ve never ordered before, but I’ve tried a bite of it because it’s one of Alex’s favorites. They call it the Yee Haw Barbecue and it’s actually hidden in the “super-clean meats” section of the menu, but you can get it with seitan and vegan cheese. This is a whole wheat hoagie stuffed with seitan and their delicious barbecue sauce, plus yellow banana peppers. In my photo you can hardly see the barbecue sauce, but there’s plenty of it and it’s really tasty and adds tons of flavor, truly making this a barbecue sandwich.
Each of their sandwiches comes with a choice of a side, and I selected the ginger rainbow slaw. I’m accustomed to getting slaw with my barbecue. It was pretty good. They have many sides to choose from (and all are vegan), including rosemary redskin potatoes, mixed green salad, Sun Chips, fruit salad, hummus and chips, and tabouli. Alex likes the rosemary redskins, and I usually try different things depending on my mood. Plus it’s been a very long time since we’ve been to Melt for any meal besides brunch.
Alex’s sandwich looks strikingly similar to mine: he chose the Veggie Cheesesteak. This is also seitan on a whole wheat hoagie, but topped with grilled onions and mushrooms. You can see the rosemary redskins behind the sandwich. He likes both items doused with the curry catsup they have on tables. (Yes, they spell it catsup but they draw special attention to it being HFCS-free.)
Melt is one of my favorite places in Cincinnati. Their menu has expanded several times since I started visiting. It’s the first place I ever tried tofu scramble, even though I prefer my own scramble these days.
I’m very happy that they make vegan and vegetarian food so accessible and visible. The menu is divided half and half (meat and not) so unlike an all-veg restaurant, they attract all kinds of diners. Melt was voted one of Cincinnati’s top-ten overall restaurants in the latest City Beat readers’ poll and snagged the top vegetarian spot for several years running. These piggy recognition certificates were posted right by my table.
If you go, be sure to check out the patio out back if the weather’s nice and keep in mind there is a second indoor dining room in the back.