Tue-Fri, 5pm-11pm; Sat, 10am-3pm and 5pm-11pm; Sun, 10am-3pm and 5pm-10pm; Mon, closed
B, C at 116th St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
Melba Wilson is the personality behind this South Harlem restaurant serving American comfort food. The dining room is among uptown’s most handsome, with white-painted paneling trimmed with black molding, black marble tables, church pews, and century-old chandeliers enveloped by cylindrical beige shades. Melba learned her trade by working for 11 years with her Aunt Sylvia Woods (of Sylvia’s fame) and helped launch Virgil’s Real Barbecue. Her menu has soul food at its core, along with lighter alternatives like entrée salads and simply prepared fish dishes. That said, people come here for the Southern Fried Chicken & Eggnog Waffles, a dish that beat one of Bobby Flay’s in a Food Network throwdown. This dish harkens from jazz’s heyday, when musicians would head uptown in the wee hours and dinner and breakfast yens could be sated simultaneously. But Melba’s version disappoints. The chicken, while crunchy, is dry; the waffles, pleasantly imbued with cinnamon and nutmeg, are heavy and lack crispness. The Trés Mac & Cheese, with its creamy mélange of mozzarella, Cheddar, and pepper jack cheeses, is a better choice.Recommended Dishes
Trés Mac & Cheese, $12.95