Best spot for grazing (2000)

Mel's Bar and Grill

Any meal is wonderful at Mel's Bar and Grill, but the appetizer menu alone is enough to make you get down on one hoof and start grazing. Risotto, a blue-crab cake, seared foie gras, an ahi tuna Napoleon and house-smoked salmon are some of the dozen-plus possibilities, with every starter wildly flavorful, artfully arranged and garnished, and generously portioned -- no itsy-bitsy nouvelle stinginess here. If you aren't counting calories or cholesterol, try the lobster "macaroni and cheese," surely one of the most decadent dishes ever, with velvety chunks of Maine lobster lovingly tossed with macaroni and mascarpone. You can make appetizers part of your dinner, of course, or sit at Mel's bar and order off the appetizer menu until 10 p.m. on weekdays and 10:30 p.m. on weekends. The sharp staff will treat you as well as if you were running up a big tab in the dining room -- and you'll also be in a better position to take a gander at the forty-plus crowd and their mating rituals. While you're there, also check out Mel's special wine picks for the evening: They're usually fabulous wines you won't see anywhere else, priced at about $5 a glass.


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