July 02, 2013

Il Melograno

Someone once raved so long and so lovingly over Il Melograno (Italian for pomegranate) that I couldn't wait to try it. Okay, I waited a few years. I'm a busy person!
A friend I hadn't seen in some time was in town, and I thought I'd try a new spot for both of us (note: maybe never do that again). We walked right into Il Melograno for a 630p reservation. They offered us a two-top squeezed in right by the kitchen/entrance, which seemed a little busy, so I asked if we could have a table in the back (my second mistake). No problem!

Oh...hi, there!
It was only then that I noticed four men-- a quartet, if you will-- seated at the table right next to ours. We'd find out in about 10 minutes that this was the band playing. A foot from us. All through the meal.

Somehow over the din of the music, we managed to order. I got the special-- saffron-scented shrimp with garlic and arugula. Done. Divine. I'm not an over-the-moon-for-saffron sort. I get that it's difficult to harvest and therefore insanely expensive, but I still kind of don't get the fuss. However, the dish was fabulous, a modest but satisfying serving, and I was happy. I'm so mixing in some arugula next time I make pasta.

My friend TEN ordered the lamb ragu over freshly-made papardelle (flat, broad ribbons of pasta), with fresh peas dotting the landscape. Our pastas were tender, fresh, and wonderful.

TEN sitting very, VERY close to the band. 
The band was great, but my GOD was it loud. We had to read each others' lips and lean across our food to even hear some of our conversation. Definitely distracting, definitely not the relaxed, laid-back restaurant experience I was hoping to share with my friend!

We did enjoy our food, a bottle of wine, and even managed to laugh at the lunacy of sitting less than a foot away from a trumpet player. We were asked to leave our table at the end of our meal as they 'needed' it, and that just kind of threw me for a loop. Maybe someone loves that EXACT table? Who the hell would WANT to sit 2 feet from a gd trumpet? That ended our meal on a bitter note.
A girl & her pasta 
Something about this was just... off. Yes, the food was lovely. But the service and general atmosphere? Off. And off-putting. I'm not sure I'd go back.. maybe if I could sit as far away from the band as possible?

Il Melograno
501 W 51st St
New York, NY 10019
(212) 757-9290


Tracey said...

Great fun reliving this experience reading your blog. Reminded me of the band singing "Hello Dolly" - in Italian!

As I also recall, we were not deterred from exploring other establishments on the block and had great luck.

It was great to see you in May. I'll be back - to NYC!

LKPheartsfood said...

I forgot about the Italian version of 'Hello Dolly!' I must track down that video snippet and add it as well!

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