My husband and I went to check out Melike Mediterranean Restaurant in the seemingly cursed Keenan House location on Main St after reading about it on Chowhound. We never would have known that it was there because they still have the short-lived Pine & Oak sign up. I don’t know if this is their version of a soft opening or what since people were coming in clearly convinced they were in Pine & Oak though the menu told another story.
My biggest gripe with this location is the lack of natural light. In the dead of winter I guess who would care but it was a nice evening and some sunlight would be nice. They do have outdoor seating but it’s not exactly picturesque. Anyway we avoided the problem of the windowless back area by sitting at the beautiful bar, which has stayed the same throughout the recent incarnations of this space.
The bartender was a really sweet young woman who was very friendly and welcoming and informed us that the cook is the same one as when it was Keenan House, and I guess a lot of the staff is the same too. The other patrons were also friendly and talkative, which is nice, as it lent to a sociable ambience.
They have a fantastic happy hour, $7 well cocktails and $2 off draft beer, every day until 7 PM and all day on Mondays. The beer selection is pretty great for a neighborhood restaurant, especially considering it’s getting hard for my husband to find places with beers he hasn’t tried. He had a sampler with three brews new to him and an old favorite while I enjoyed a few gin and tonics. The bartender pointed out that their well liquor is interesting stuff, not just basic-- the gin was Aloo from Oola in Seattle and quite good I thought.
I have learned to have pretty tempered expectations when it comes to Ossining restaurants so I am thrilled to say that we had a great meal here. It helps that I love this kind of food, but overall this meal was fantastic. Appetizers were a version of tzatziki (cacik) with warm pita and feta and herb stuffed phyllo cigars-- both delicious. Entrees were described as big portions and they were exactly that. Mine was perfectly cooked lamb kabobs which were great dipped in the leftover cacik. My husband loved his lamb meatballs (flattened like small hamburger patties). Both of the entrees were served with a fresh green salad and fragrant rice. Dessert was a huge portion of baklava. Mine’s better, what can I say, but this version was also delicious and less work than homemade.
I can see us returning here on a regular basis. Especially with the drink deals this was cheaper than an average night out for us and we had some leftover for lunch the next day.
We went back to Melike again last night after a long day of painting in our new house. We had another great experience. I still wouldn’t necessarily call this a destination although if you enjoy this type of food I would. The kitchen is doing great things and we’ve enjoyed everything we’ve ordered.
We ordered a couple of things we had enjoyed last time, like the cacik (tzatziki) which is a little thinner than Greek tzatziki but just as delicious. This time we also tried the babaghanoush which was smoothly textured and with a perfect smoky flavor from charring the eggplants, not too overpowering. I, boring-ly, got the same thing I got last time for my entree, which comes with a huge side salad and I got a side of fries (only thing that was forgettable, but who orders fries at a Turkish restuarant? What can I say, I was craving them and they satisfied the craving.). My husband got the lamb shank which was fall off the bone tender and topped with roasted veggies like peppers and eggplants in a tomato type sauce. My husband wanted to try to the rice pudding for dessert, which I was expecting may have a Turkish flair, but was just really simple, really delicious rice pudding with a slightly bruleed type top.
Service was friendly and competent as it was last time and it seems like plenty of locals are doing what we are doing-- dropping in at the bar-- and the dining room was pretty full most of the time we were there. Has the curse of this location finally worn off? I hope so!
Three of us stopped in for early dinner today. Unfortunately we were not impressed. First of all, the print on the menu is small and faded. Had to use my mini flashlight to read the menu. To start, pita bread and olive oil were brought to the table. The pita was right out of the package. It would have been nice if it spent a short time on the grill. The olive oil was fruity enough but had a strange taste.
We shared a fried calamari appetizer. Dipping sauce was tartar sauce. Perhaps this is the Turkish way, but it would have been better with a tomato based sauce. There was nothing special about the calamari.
Don’t know anything about the Happy Hour specials described above. We got there around 4:30, and my cocktail was $10. Perhaps the specials are only at the bar.
For mains two of us each had the mixed grill and the other had the lamb shank. The portions were huge. The lamb shank was very good according to my friend. The lamb chops in the mixed grill were delicious even though cooked closer to well done instead of medium as we ordered. The chicken cubes were dry. The rest of the meats were bland. Brought home at least half of it. The meats came with a large portion of salad and rice on the side. The salad called out for some crumbled feta cheese. I asked for dressing for the salad and was brought a cup of the same olive oil that was served with the pita bread at the beginning of the meal. The dressing needed some tang to it.
I’m in no rush to go back, but if I do I would order the lamb shank or something else that doesn’t get dried out on the grill, ask them to grill the pita bread and ask for some feta cheese for the salad. I would also inquire about happy hour specials on the drinks.
Aw, you’re the second person who had a so-so experience here, which stinks.
We eat at the bar when we go. I’m not sure if that has something to do with it, but we’ve never had overcooked meat. I can definitely see what you’re saying about the blandness-- we order tzatziki to go with our meals which I think needs to come standard. The chicken kebab, for example, is kind of boring without it. The side salad is a nice touch but I agree with you that it needs some feta, olives, and a more aggressive dressing. Also agree about the lamb shank. We’ve enjoyed all of the lamb dishes but they have not come out overcooked. I wouldn’t like them overcooked either!
I believe happy hour specials for drinks are only at the bar. The drinks are fairly priced to begin with. I think my gin and tonic is $9 regularly and $7 during happy hour.
I hope they are reading here. They aren’t going to last long with these mixed reviews.
Created an account just so I could comment on Melike. We live in Ossining, and have eaten here several times. Once the chicken kebobs were a little dry, but otherwise never had a bad meal. The lamb chops and kebobs were cooked to perfection. The baklava was the best I’ve had. The hummus is great too. We expect to be here regularly. With DDs diner and Melike, the food scene in town has definitely taken a big leap forward.
I had another satisfying meal here. I hesitate to wholeheartedly recommend it since I know @foodygrandma and some others have not had the best experiences. But for us it’s very convenient and we like spontaneously going and sitting at the bar. We like the lamb dishes the best although they should serve them with the cacik (we always order it on the side to go with). The salad as noted above could benefit from some feta or whatever the turkish equivalent is.
The reason I felt compelled to report, though, was the fabulous dessert, kanafeh, knafeh, kunafa, I have no idea what the correct spelling is but it was truly unique and delicious. There is that shredded bird’s nest type topping (any what that’s called?) with honey and pistachios on top of a sweet Turkish mozzarella type cheese. This was a fantastic recommendation on the part of the bartender. The contrast of textures between the gooey soft mozzarella type cheese and crunchy topping was a treat. I have to find a recipe for this!
Glad to see them doing well and hopefully they are doing a better job of pleasing the masses these days.
What a nice surprise Melike was tonight. First of all, it was full of people who clearly know and love the place–nice, friendly vibe. We got some hummus for the table (delicious, esp if you like tahini). We weren’t starving so then two of us had the excellent lentil soup and a starter (tabbouleh, which was fresh and zingy, and decent but uninspired stuffed grape leaves). Our companion had some “Mediterranean” chicken dish he said he liked a lot. (I realize that’s not very helpful. ) Up to this point, the server was flying around and efficiently handling a pretty full room on her own with just a little help from the bartender. We were going to get dessert but couldn’t get anyone’s attention. Ultimately, it took them too long to get back to us, so we decided to just head out instead. The server told us that she wasn’t even supposed to be working tonight, that she’d been called up at the last minute to come in. I guess it was uncharacteristically busy. Anyway–we’ll definitely go back…if we’re not in a hurry.
We’ve gone to Melike several more times over the last few months and have enjoyed it. It’s been busy and friendly, nice vibe and good food. Nice people. (Plus it’s convenient for us when we meet an Ossining friend for dinner.) But when we went again last night, we were the only people there. Maybe it was the upcoming storm that kept everyone at home? We had a perfectly nice meal–I really like their creamy, tahini-y hummus, and I recommend the zucchini pancakes, too. But several items on the menu were not available. That plus the empty room has me worried.
We have been going to the Turk in Mt Kisco instead of Melike lately. I just can’t get past the claustrophobic and windowless dining room. I do like their food so maybe we’ll go and sit at the bar soon since I don’t mind that seating area as much.