When one enters the inventive establishment, Melenzane, “unlikely” is the very word on one’s mind. The diner is immediately convinced – and refreshed – that the restaurant displays the idiosyncrasies of a passion, not a business. The space is characterized by an apparent process of dismantling and reconfiguration: a high-backed loveseat rising to meet upside-down tables fitted with light fixtures; drawers opening upside down and protruding from the walls; backsides, undersides, wrong sides, hidden sides – all the unlikeliest yet artful of assemblages. And so it is with the food. The cooks make no apologies serving the Melenzane Pasta exactly how it is meant to be served: in the tinfoil it’s baked in. The dish’s homemade Napolitano sauce is simple and superb, accented with fresh basil and the namesake eggplant. The essence of Sicily is found in such simplicity, and Melenzane’s best offerings reflect this. The classic mixed with the creative, the time-tried meeting the transient. It is an unlikely mélange, but it works. One can fully embrace the quality of the Sicilian cuisine with its subtle accents of eccentricity while marveling at an environment that is not subtle at all.
Image sourced from Melenzane’s Instagram.