Sunday, November 6, 2005

Melba's on 114th Street

I spent the better part of my day yesterday riding in a tow truck to take my car back to my mechanic. This annoyed me because I JUST GOT THE DAMN THING FIXED!!!! Anyway, after a long drive right across the GWB (lots of traffic) to Fort Lee, NJ we dropped "Pearl" off at the garage and drove right back to NYC. The tow truck driver and I bonded over Newports and coffee and he turned out to be a very nice man.

I got home in just enough time to shave my head and dash back out to meet my friends for dinner at Melba's on 114th St & 8th Avenue. I had dinner with Yvette & Kim, my friends who I just saw down in Richmond, VA a few weeks ago. They were in town because Yvette's sister was renewing her wedding vows. Melba's is a new spot in Harlem that's owned by the daughter of the woman who owns Sylvia's, the legendary soul food spot in Harlem. The place is small but it was quickly filling up with the beautiful people when I arrived. I quickly found my friends and joined them in full appetizer mode. I ordered a glass of chardonnay and introduced myself to the other couple at the table with them. We chatted over spinach salad with a LOT of red onions & mushrooms, catfish fingers and spring rolls with blackeyed peas in them....the food is really quite good. Anyway, more people began to arrive and our table began to get crowded....Claire, who's a good friend of Yvette's arrived looking fabulous with loose blonde colored twists....Claire is one of the coolest people that I have met in a while...I don't get to see her often but when I do, we always have a blast! She ordered a really good bottle of Pouilly Fuisse that the table shared. I wound up sitting next to this Indian chick who's a doctor at Montefiore, she was pretty funny. The drinks and the convo was flowing and the waiter came around and took everyone's dinner orders.....I had the BBQ Turkey Meatloaf with garlic mashed potatoes & Spinach sauteed in garlic & olive oil....Yummy! Claire had Chicken & Waffles....THAT'S REAL old-school!!! Everybody ain't up on Chicken & Waffles! The doctor had a vegetarian entree that consisted of Portabello Mushrooms, goat cheese & Onions....that may have been the only thing on the menu that I would have passed up....I LOATHE Goat cheese....I think it's Yvette had the grilled salmon with mac & cheese which also looked good...but I eat salmon all the time....In the middle of our meal, Melba herself sent us over a platter of short ribs of beef on top of these little circles of was DELICIOUS!!!

It was then that I began to survey the room and I realized that a lot of the "Kids" or "The Children" were in the in the room was most assuredly er...Gay? The only thing missing ...I swear...was the rainbow flag outside!!! As I gazed out of the windows of the restaurant I saw a lot of gay (male & female) couples walking up and down the streets.....and I thought to myself (okay, I said it out loud) Is it me or is this particular area of Harlem becoming the new Chelsea????? The energy is SOOO very different now. Growing up in Harlem...the 116th Street Area of my childhood is where the dopefiends came to cop their drugs. Nobody hung out over there....very dangerous!! Although some of the seedy elements are still around...they are rapidly cleaning up that area and it will be unrecognizable in the next year or so....I guarantee it.

Anyway, the hour was getting late and the ladies were talking about moving the party elsewhere to continue drinking......They already had me drinking Grey Goose & Sprite, Grey Goose with Pineapple & Cranberry Juice (with a twist of lime of course) and some martini with a Lychee Nut in it and I just knew I wouldn't be able to hang (I definitely CANNOT drink like I used to) so I quickly said my goodbyes and started to try and walk the 13 or so blocks home. I got to maybe 120th street (in front of another cool drinking spot called "Moca's") and my knees were aching so badly I had to hail a taxi the rest of the way.

Once again, I so enjoy the time I get to spend with my friends...especially the ones from out of was an amazing night and I am really glad they invited me. I can't wait to do it again.

By the way....if you are ever at Melba's have the Sweet Potatoe Pie....It's AWESOME!!!!


Anonymous said...

I went last night and the food was FUCKING DISGUSTING. We had a very large party and the bill was outrageous. Melba was "strutting" around like a peacock (like the food was so good) She needed the "Sweet hell" knocked out of her ass for hiring a chef like that. I didnt finish my chicken and waffles. The chicken tasted like wood. The "wood" mentioned in The Sugar Hill Gang's Rappers Delight Song.
The catfish wasn't fried "hard enough" and it was too gamey tasting and slimey.
This is a GROSS whole in the wall.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I've been to Melba's a few times. Melba does not float around like a peacock; she is just plain hospitable. The first comment by anonymous is so hostile, it makes me wonder what she has against Melba, the entrepreneur. The place is a nice hang. The decor is totally gorgeous, and the food's decent. I had no idea that Melba was connected to Sylvia's. Melba's is not a hole in the wall.

Anonymous said...

Went to Melba's Friday after work. The decor was very beautiful. I've been to holes in the wall and this is not one of them. In fact the aromatherapy in the lady's room was so nice I didn't want to leave. I had the shortribs with grits cake and my honey had the bbq turkey meatloaf and we shared the sweet potato pie. We were thrilled with our food choices and the service was great. A couple at the bar was eating the catfish and wings and they said they'd recommend them. The anonymous poster's comments are crass and uncalled for. I'm actually going to look into renting Melba's for a private party.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but I'm all up on Melba's bandwagon. Not sure if it was a good day or I hit the jackpot with my meal but it was the best meal I have eaten in Harlem in a very long time.

Anonymous said...

Melba deserves a nice place. She has been patient since failing in the DeNiro project with Minton's.

# 1 She is not the daughter of Sylvia Wood. And even though they claimed her and let her get her restaurant experience from the school of Sylvia's Soul Food conglomerate. She is not really a relative at all..they liked her until they got mad and cut her off.

But what matters is girl friend is doin her thing BIG TIME! She has learned from the masters and now she is duplicating and implementing. And let's not forget that she also got as close as she could to Ann Wells of Wells' World Famous Chicken & Waffles.

So kudos to Melba!!!!!!

Hip Hip Hooray!!!!!!!! 20X

# 2 Whoever anonymous sound like you got a BIG case of the GREEN EYED MONSTER VIRUS. GEMV is a horrible desease to have because it is mental and spiritual breakdown and the only thing that can cure is to look at the face in the mirror and be mad at it for not being as successful as Melba.

So no that Melba's success turns you off...whay were you there in the first place?

You still had to pay for the food and the drinks.

I am sure Melba, who is an Aries and probably could care less about your digs because she is very well connected and knows EVERYBODY under the sun. If they are famous or got money...she knows them.

Now I will tell you that she is not always nice to everybody. And she grins and smiles for the rich and the famous and the who ever can make her look good...but a girl gotta do what a girl gotta do.

I betcha that hole on the wall you're talkin bout makes more money nightly than you make in three months.

So any way who cares whatyou think. Cause we all know that you wish you were her. Now. That's that's the bottom line. Ain't it?

ENVY & JEALOUSY is worse than the witchcraft that you seem to be working so well.