Hours: Lunch, dinner: seven days
BYO Colombian restaurant in the former El Llano space, featuring home-style arepas, empanadas, grilled chicken, and desserts.
Melao is a sleepy spot on a popular stretch of Lincoln; on a recent Saturday night it was all but empty. A waitress asked whether I wanted carry-out when I walked in, as if she couldn’t imagine I might be staying. I wish I could say the restaurant deserves more attention than it’s getting, but the food was hit-or-miss. Coconut shrimp were lightly sweet and snappy, but a bit pricey at $7 for four medium crustaceans. And both the chicharrones and arepas in another appetizer were dry; the pork belly tough and the corn cakes tasteless. Both the steak and chicken in the parillada, on the other hand, were juicy—surprisingly so, considering how thin they’d been pounded—and flavorful. The "milk man jar" in a dessert with figs and cheese turned out to be a kind of dulce de leche, and the whole thing would have worked beautifully if the figs had been fresh rather than preserved and mealy.
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