A hip and friendly indie restaurant
Posted on 06 / 20 / 2008
Melt bills itself as an "eclectic deli," serving vegan-friendly gourmet sandwiches, soups and salads using whole, unprocessed ingredients in environmentally-friendly packaging. They source locally when possible and are mindful of re-investing in the local economy and community.
The restaurant is appealingly quirky with brightly painted walls of berry and periwinkle, and comfy, mismatched tables and chairs. Dine-in meals are served on funky thrift-store dinnerware, and local artists showcase their work here too, further decorating the cheerful space. When the weather is nice, be sure to check out the zenlike outdoor dining area in back. The main dining area is spacious but oddly there are tables in a narrow hallway near the kitchen that seem out of place. Avoid them if you can.
Nearly everything on the menu is vegetarian or vegan. There are veggie cheesesteaks made with seasoned seitan, vegan melts of savory, baked tofu, BBQ hoagies made with tempeh, and a half-dozen awesome, healthy salads served with multi-grain bread from Over-the-Rhine bakery Shadeau. The restaurant makes all their dressings in-house - there are four vegan and four vegetarian dressings on offer.
They also boast a mean vegan chili that garners rave reviews, and their soup of the day is always vegetarian. It's affordable too - most items are under $10.
I decided to go with their daily special - the Torpedo Burrito (a baked tortilla wrap of scrambled tofu, guacamole and spinach) served with a spicy, homemade pico de gallo. The wrap was healthy enough but I felt it lacked seasoning. The scrambled tofu in the burrito was very bland, but could have been alleviated had they scrambled it with some basil pesto or other seasoning. The addition of pico de gallo helped, but there wasn't enough of it. I also got a side of the roasted rosemary potatoes, which were fantastically tasty if a little cold by the time they reached the table, and the curried catsup was a welcome surprise.
Although I've heard grumblings about Melt's portions being on the small side, personally I haven't found that to be the case. In fact I have yet to leave room for their scrumptious baked goods, which is a real shame since Melt offers a nice variety of housemade vegan dessserts. There are also cupcakes, brownies, bread puddings and key lime bars from local bakery Take the Cake.
good value, healthy choices, friendly staff