Melanthios Greek Charhouse recently and decided that I was going to step out of my comfort zone and try some of those things that have sounded good but I don't have much experience with. Arriving at the restaurant, I noticed that they had a large outside dining area in the front and at the side of the restaurant. It was a warm day so the outside area was pretty popular. Coming without a reservation, I expected that the odds of my dining outdoors would be pretty slim. It was okay though because I didn't have my heart set on dining outdoors and it would give me a look on the inside. I walked in and saw that it was a very open space. There was a walkway with half-walls from the door to the hostess station so you could see the entire dining area. There was an unfinished ceiling with ventilation ducting and hanging lights with additional illumination provided by tabletop candles. The floors were dark varnished hardwood as were the rails and furniture. All of the tables in the restaurant were large four tops although there were some two tops outside along the side of the restaurant. The kitchen was in the back and was open and there was a small bar across from the kitchen. On the side of the restaurant that had the bar there was a bench backed by the side window that had several large pillows for comfort. I was seated on the bar side of the restaurant and sat on the very comfortable bench.
I started my meal with something that I have seen many times but amazingly have never tried, Saganaki. I have always thought that the presentation was entertaining and have thought about ordering it when I have seen it but there was always something else. Saganaki is very simple (at least the saganaki that most people are familiar with). It is simply a sheep cheese that is doused with brandy, lit on fire, and then extinguished with the juice of a lemon. The tradition of the waiter shouting "Opa!" when he lights the cheese actually comes from a Greek restaurant in Chicago in the 1960s. What, if anything, it means, I don't know, but it is entertaining. The dish was crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside, salty, sour, and very good.