Sunday, January 21, 2007


Melograno has emerged as one of Philly's favorite BYOs. Not an easy feat considering the shear volume of competitors in our fair city. It has definitely made the list of my personal favorites in the past - an atmosphere that has that special something - that 'je ne sais quoi'. Love the space with its floor-to-ceiling windows, open kitchen, red berry garland and minimalist sunflower arrangements. European waiters with thick accents and charming smiles. And the food, oh the food - my kind of perfection. Light, simple and flavorful.

So you can imagine my dismay at having to be the bearer of bad news from my most recent visit there on a cold Wednesday night. I understand that Melograno has received a lot of praise, great press and enjoys a constant buzz of traffic night in and night out. And it is certainly worthy of its success. But that is no reason to be rude to your patrons. No way. Unacceptable. So I politely ask the Melograno staff to sit back, take a deep breath, and quietly step down off your high horses. It is your privilege to enjoy our patronage, not the other way around. Make us feel welcome, not like you are doing us a huge favor by allowing us to have a table. Philly folk don't like snobs, not even in Rittenhouse.

That said, I'm not sure that even a snooty hostess will be enough to keep me away from the portabello with pine nuts and goat cheese or the branzino and garlic mashed. It really is that good.

Melograno, 2201 Spruce Street


Anonymous said...

i agree! we once went with a party of 6 -they dont take reservations so we went good and early. We would have waited a very long while for a table but when we asked, the hostess said "no" and walked away.
she didnt say, "the wait will be at least an hour, two hours"
she didnt say "no i'm sorry, we wont be able to accomodate you tonight, we're just too busy for a table of 6"... she said "no" and walked away. nothing else.
i havent been back - too much good food in philly.

Anonymous said...

I'm from NYC originally. For a restaurant that busy, the service was fine and everyone was courteous. If you want your wait staff to have a down home folksy demeanor, move to Mayberry.

Ruby Legs said...

I lived in NYC for seven years and I never came across anyone in the restaurant industry with an attitude like that snotty hostess at Melangrano.

The last time I went there, I was with a group of four (myself included). The place was busy but there wasn't the usual bunch of people milling about so we figured the wait would not be too long. That and the couch they used to have out front was available for some fine alfresco drinks and we had about three bottles along for the ride.

I went up to her and told her we would like to be put on the list. She responded tersely, "it's going to be 45 minutes."

We were happy to sit and enjoy a few drinks so I smiled and said "that's great! Could you open this bottle for us and get us a few glasses?"

She replied, "No, it's going to be an hour."

"Fine, we'll just be outside."

"No, actually it's going to be more like an hour and a half."

"We're prepared."

She was completely flummoxed and definitely exuded a thick sense of annoyance. I suspect she was just trying to drive us away by telling us some complete lie about how long the wait was going to be.

Despite her reverse auction techniques, we were seated before we got anywhere close to finishing the bottle she opened for us.