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.
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.
How apropos that a restaurant that has chic customers swarming around it like, well, like bees around a hive, is actually named The Beehive. And the place is always buzzing, with well-dressed, disposable-income types jostling for position inside a tightly packed dining room that offers an ideal setup for people-watching. Because the space is long and narrow, no one gets in the door without calling attention to himself, and the folks waiting for a table -- the Beehive doesn't take reservations -- sit on display at the windows, their every move captured in the flickering reflection of the lights. Meanwhile, diners lucky enough to have found a seat are enjoying the attentions of Tim Elenteny, who runs the front of the house, while his wife and partner, Janice Henning, cooks up such New American-meets-Old-World dishes as a sour-cherry-kissed roast quail or a Moroccan-influenced duck confit. An order of the stunning panna cotta for dessert ends an evening just right. For both gazing and grazing, this place is a real honey.

How apropos that a restaurant that has chic customers swarming around it like, well, like bees around a hive, is actually named The Beehive. And the place is always buzzing, with well-dressed, disposable-income types jostling for position inside a tightly packed dining room that offers an ideal setup for people-watching. Because the space is long and narrow, no one gets in the door without calling attention to himself, and the folks waiting for a table -- the Beehive doesn't take reservations -- sit on display at the windows, their every move captured in the flickering reflection of the lights. Meanwhile, diners lucky enough to have found a seat are enjoying the attentions of Tim Elenteny, who runs the front of the house, while his wife and partner, Janice Henning, cooks up such New American-meets-Old-World dishes as a sour-cherry-kissed roast quail or a Moroccan-influenced duck confit. An order of the stunning panna cotta for dessert ends an evening just right. For both gazing and grazing, this place is a real honey.

Nothing at Rodney's, one of the last fern-bar holdouts, is ever expensive, but on Monday nights, its spaghetti special is as cheap as cheap gets. A bottomless plate of pasta covered with Rodney's heavy marinara and sided by a fat Italian sausage costs just $4.95 -- and that includes a nonstop supply of buttery garlic bread. Adding to the bargain is the fact that the people-watching, which includes chubby businessmen and their mistresses along with plenty of cocktail-swigging singles, is free.
Nothing at Rodney's, one of the last fern-bar holdouts, is ever expensive, but on Monday nights, its spaghetti special is as cheap as cheap gets. A bottomless plate of pasta covered with Rodney's heavy marinara and sided by a fat Italian sausage costs just $4.95 -- and that includes a nonstop supply of buttery garlic bread. Adding to the bargain is the fact that the people-watching, which includes chubby businessmen and their mistresses along with plenty of cocktail-swigging singles, is free.
A popular breakfast, lunch and dinner spot, Racines has long been known for its baked goods, especially the brownies. But lately we've become addicted to its big, fluffy cinnamon rolls, a quintessential version of the old favorite: light, soft, swirled with cinnamon, and with just the right number of raisins to ensure that you get a plump, sweet one every few mouthfuls. And then there's the icing on the cake, a super-sweet slick that turns into a sugary crust around the edges and pushes an ooze of butter over the top. Grab a cup of coffee and one of these babies, and you're starting the day on a roll.

A popular breakfast, lunch and dinner spot, Racines has long been known for its baked goods, especially the brownies. But lately we've become addicted to its big, fluffy cinnamon rolls, a quintessential version of the old favorite: light, soft, swirled with cinnamon, and with just the right number of raisins to ensure that you get a plump, sweet one every few mouthfuls. And then there's the icing on the cake, a super-sweet slick that turns into a sugary crust around the edges and pushes an ooze of butter over the top. Grab a cup of coffee and one of these babies, and you're starting the day on a roll.

Since good food goes great with fine wine, how do you think it might go with a fine car? The Fourth Story gives folks an enticement to dine upscale with its "Tuesday Night Taste Drive." In order to get in gear, all you have to do is book a table, throw away the menu, describe how much you'd like to spend in automobile terms, and let the kitchen invent something for you -- from a workman-like Volkswagen (maybe a duck spring-roll appetizer and an elaborate pasta, both paired with the appropriate wines, for 25 bucks a head?) to a seven-course Rolls (oysters, Argentinean ribeye steaks with roasted tomatillo sauce, caramelized peach tarts and whatever). This is the town's best meal on wheels, fun for the staff and fun for you. Honk if you love to eat.
Since good food goes great with fine wine, how do you think it might go with a fine car? The Fourth Story gives folks an enticement to dine upscale with its "Tuesday Night Taste Drive." In order to get in gear, all you have to do is book a table, throw away the menu, describe how much you'd like to spend in automobile terms, and let the kitchen invent something for you -- from a workman-like Volkswagen (maybe a duck spring-roll appetizer and an elaborate pasta, both paired with the appropriate wines, for 25 bucks a head?) to a seven-course Rolls (oysters, Argentinean ribeye steaks with roasted tomatillo sauce, caramelized peach tarts and whatever). This is the town's best meal on wheels, fun for the staff and fun for you. Honk if you love to eat.

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