Last night I went to Melograno with two friends who bought a house in the 'burbs and are moving out of Center City next weekend. It turned out to be a great choice for a bittersweet dinner party (of three people, plus two bottles of wine).
Bradd and I went to the BYOB last summer for our first anniversary but hadn't been back since. The menu looked different to me - I recall it being dimensionally smaller and with more pages, but I don't know if that translated to more options. I recognized what I ate last time right away, mainly because the girl at the table next to us had the same thing and, man, did it smell good. It's called Pappardelle Al Ragu di Cinghiale, or "braised wild boar bolognese made with fresh tomatoes & rosemary finished with Parmigiano." One of my dinner mates opted for it last night but I decided to try their Pappardelle Alle Olive instead, "Sauteéd jumbo shrimp & Sea scallops cooked in a light tomato sauce with black & green olives." I'm not a fan of olives so thankfully there were only a couple and I couldn't tell if they really did anything to the flavor. Really, it was kind of like pasta (pappardelle, which are long, wide, flat noodles that are a little thick and give you a much different feel than eating regular pasta) with shrimp, scallops and a red sauce. It was definitely good. But what I had last time was better.
Note to self and others: when you see "wild boar ragu" just get it. It's going to be awesome. Everywhere we've had it, like Osteria, it never fails to impress. I was a little jealous watching my friend eat it. Both options are $17, as are their other pasta dishes, so reasonable for a more upscale BYOB. Melograno's meat/fish entrees are all priced in the $20's. Everyone seemed pleased with their meals but no one particularly raved about their food. Maybe we were just too consumed in conversation, though, or in polishing off two bottles of wine between one light weight and two tired souls determined to get drunk (I'm not the lightweight).
What really made this Melograno visit great, however, was the fact that they never chased us out. We got there at 7pm on a Friday night and were seated right by the window immediately. The service was fine, not rushed at all, and 3 1/2 hours later we were still sitting there. Now, in the past I've always seen people waiting outside for tables and Melograno packed inside. For whatever reason last night it was never 100% full and no one seemed to blink at the fact that we weren't moving. And neither were a lot of the tables around us. I wish more places were like that. I get the fact that you need new patrons to make money, but I also need a place to finish my wine and talk with my friends before they move [gasp!] 12 miles away (versus 9 blocks today).
Melograno is a solid Italian BYOB - not the best, nowhere near the worst - and a great spot for anything from a romantic dinner-for-two to an outing with friends.