There aren’t too many places in Fairfield County I’m excited to go to when meeting a friend for lunch, but Meli Melo (French for ‘hodgepodge’) in Greenwich is one of the few places that always comes to mind. It is an authentic Parisian crêperie, serving both sweet and savory crêpes, luscious sandwiches, hearty salads, and a wide variety of soups… not to mention homemade ice cream, sorbet, and any combination of smoothie you could possibly conjure up.
Situated towards the bottom of Greenwich Avenue, it’s cheery bright yellow façade and playful sign beckon you inside, where you’ll find a small, bustling restaurant with efficient wait staff and a number of fast moving cooks behind the counter. With its bistro tables and fairly confined seating, it is hardly a kid-friendly environment, but sometimes this plays in your favor. (Not that I have anything against kids—I have three of my own and in fact, my eldest demands I take her to Meli Melo each year on her birthday).
At last count there were twenty-three buckwheat crêpes from which to choose. My personal favorites are the straightforward ‘Jambon, Fromage et Oeuf’ (ham, swiss, and egg—either scrambled or sunny side up) and the ‘Pissaladiere’ (roasted onions, goat cheese, black olives, capers, fresh basil, and roasted tomatoes). Although it is hard to pass on the savory crêpes, I sometimes opt for one of the many hearty salads and a dessert crêpe. On my last visit, I had the French Lentils Salad (French lentils, shredded carrots, parmesan shavings, mesclun, and dressing), which was simple yet outstanding, followed by the Fruits Frais crêpe, a wheat crêpe piled with plump fresh blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries.
Although Meli Melo is known for its crêpes, I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the soups and sandwiches… I nearly asked for a bite of my neighbor’s Ciabatta— fresh tomato, roasted bell pepper, brie, and mesclun greens topped with crisp bacon— even though he was a perfect stranger. In the winter, I crave their French Onion Soup. Chef Marc Penvenne starts his day at 6 a.m. to cook down and concentrate the 50 pounds of white onions that make up this soup’s amazingly sweet onion flavor. In warmer months, the Gazpacho is fresh, light, and flavorful, and we sampled a surprisingly light and creamy cold avocado soup with crabmeat on this last visit, which was quite good.
If you’re too full for dessert, take home a pint of their homemade ice cream or sorbet. I am partial to the dulce de leche ice cream and the coconut sorbet. For a healthier alternative, don’t miss their fresh squeezed juices, which are made to order and come in 23 combinations of fresh fruit. And as you would expect at a Parisian café, they make a damn good latte too!
Equally good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Meli Melo is open daily 10am-10pm.
Meli Melo 362 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich. 203.629.6153