Location: 1450 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10021 (Upper East Side Location)
Best Dish: The croissant French toast was delicious. It was unique and well done.
Overall: A laid back Brunch option that serves food everyone can enjoy. A good place to take anyone who loved a big messy burger.
Named after the chef’s grandfather Mel’s Burger Bar is a bar/restaurant with a commitment to serving good food to “regular people”. This isn’t the place for trendy eats or hipster inspired preparations. What you will find here is familiar and comforting. Mel’s Burger Bar stays true to its roots, serving up burgers, shakes, and fries in a variety of flavor combinations. The restaurant is retro chic, with wood decor and furnishings surrounded by red leather booths. At the rear of the space is an homage to its namesake. A giant illuminated “Mel’s” sign covering the entire rear wall. While the restaurant is known for its burgers and happy hour specials, we dropped in to sample the dishes for their bottomless brunch. For one set price, you can enjoy one entree three hours of unlimited Bloody Marys, Mimosas, and screwdrivers.
Croissant French Toast
Mel’s Burger Bar puts the French in French Toast, their variation of this classic dish is luxurious. Instead of Challah or some other thick bread, they chose to use a flaky croissant. This french toast is outstanding, its buttery and decadent.
Fat Pig Omelet
With a name like “Fat Pig, ” we expected an oversized masterpiece of an omelet. What we received was a basic omelet filled with bacon cheddar and caramelized onion. It was quite tasty but nothing special. The onions added some sweetness which balanced out the salty flavors from the bacon and cheese.
This big messy burrito is the perfect morning after meal. The flour tortilla was a soft blanket surrounding a generous helping of eggs, sausage, and cheese. This is served with flavorful black beans and a bright citrusy Pico di Gallo.
You can’t visit a burger bar and not have at least one burger. We chose the Benny Burger, a thick meaty patty served on a potato roll with ham topped with a poached egg; all the flavors of a classic Eggs Benedict in burger form. This is a two handed burger that you may want to bite into directly over the plate, once that yolk breaks there will be egg everywhere, it is glorious. Nothing says good morning like a warm runny egg yolk.
Because plain ole cookies are so last season, Oreos and chocolate cookies are battered and fried to golden brown perfection. The warm fried cookies are served with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream.
Not Your Father’s Float
In addition to its regular shakes, Mels also offers a selection of spiked shakes for your consumption. We tried the adults only root beer float. The shake featured vanilla ice cream and Not Your Father’s root beer.
Two words we never thought we’d hear: Brunch Shots, and yet there we were ordering a round. We sampled the Cinnamon Toast shot which was true to its name, it tasted like cinnamon toast. The key ingredients for the shot were Fireball Whiskey and Bailey’s. The shot was sweet and smooth. For a stronger shot, we recommend the Irish Breakfast shot, which is a shot of Jameson with an orange juice chaser. This shot will either wake you up or send you back to sleep, it’s the weekend so you win either way.
There was a time when brunch was reserved for only the most dainty among us. Places like Mel’s Burger Bar have brought the weekend treat to the masses, by offering a menu of familiar comfort foods and treats worth waking up for.
For more information, head over to melsburgerbar.com