Mel’s Burger delivers! – Review of Mel’s Burger

BY CAROLYN ONOFREY

Mel’s Burger
2850 Broadway
Morningside Heights
212-865-7100/
melsburgerbar.com

Mel's Burger, Morningside Heights, Manhattan

Mel's Burger, Morningside Heights, Manhattan

Mel’s Burger opened on August 26th.  The flickering neon sign reminiscent of Times Square circa 1940 is an inviting homage to what is now kitschy, old New York.  Located in the heart of Columbia University territory, I expected to see a flood of college kids swarming the place and perhaps a stale beer smell from nights past.  Instead, I walked into a rather large restaurant with an interesting selection of clientele ranging from senior citizens to families with young children, to of course, Columbia students.  The interior was decked from head to toe in rustic wood and accented with fun elements like a black and white checkered floor, a large painting with the not-so-subliminal message “hamburgers delicious”, and the restaurant’s namesake spelled out in perfectly made-to-look-dingy lights.

The staff was energized and seemingly happy to be at work.  Their number 1 concern for the entire time I was there was that I was having fun and that I was trying out as many beers on their impressive, craft heavy, list as I could possibly muster.

Cadillac Burger (bacon and cheese) at Mel’s Burger

Cadillac Burger (bacon and cheese) at Mel’s Burger

Reading over the menu, with items ranging from their spiked milk shakes to their homage to the “original” Louis’ Lunch burger (let’s give credit where credit is due!) to the hand cut buffalo and disco fries and onion strings, I could tell that Mel’s really was all about having fun and enjoying food on a college student’s budget (burgers ranging from $8.50 to $12.50).

Fries and onion strings at Mel’s Burger

Fries and onion strings at Mel’s Burger

Also delicious at Mel’s, the French Dip!

Also delicious at Mel’s, the French Dip!

While the stale beer smell may come with time, and the staff might not always be so giddy for work, it is safe to say that as long as they don’t change the special spice blend they use for their burgers and the recipe they use for their delicious french fries, Mel’s will be a staple in the lives of many Columbia students and the residents of Morningside Heights for years to come.

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An escape from the table rigors of Manhattan: A Review of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

BY CAROLYN ONOFREY

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
646 West 131st Street
Harlem
212-694-1777/dinosaurbarbque.com

Swag Sampler at Dinosaur BBQ

Swag Sampler at Dinosaur BBQ

A recent trek up to Harlem during my apartment search brought me to the neighborhood of Dinosaur BBQ.  I had never made it up to 131st street to try out the famous BBQ, so when I passed it, I made a definitive note to self that I would for sure be stopping for dinner on my way home.

Monday night at 8:30pm, the huge restaurant (at least for Manhattan) was packed full, leaving the wait for a table for two at an hour and a half.  Just as I was about to give up and settle for a can of soup from my pantry at home, 2 seats in the bar section (grab them as you see them seating policy) opened up and we rushed to snatch them up.

My game plan was to try a bit of everything,  I went with the Swag Sampler plate for 1 ($5.95), an appetizer combo plate similar to what one would find at an Applebee’s including all of their goodies like spicy shrimp, meaty and very juicy BBQ chicken wings, fried green tomatoes, and deviled eggs.  Having never ordered deviled eggs from a restaurant before, I was a little skeptical but discovered that they were actually very good! [Read more...]