Sometimes, though, you just want a place that'll always be there for you, even without asking the hostess if she knows who this is. A place like the new Melrose Bar & Grill.
Reincarnated from the neighborhood favorite Doug Arango's practically overnight, the restaurant now has more seating and an upscale, anything-goes pub vibe—not unlike its fellow Melrosian, The Village Idiot, to the east. Whether you show up for a wine-fueled business lunch, a quiet afternoon snack or a comedown dinner after your spree through the nearby design showrooms, you'll be accommodated at one of the new sidewalk tables or inside the main room. (If you feel friendly, grab a seat at the bar or one of two raised communal tables; if you want privacy, the booth in the back corner is best.)
To start, you might try the South West Matzo Ball Soup or the Burrata and Dried Tomato Dip, then move to the Berkshire Pork Chop or a Duck Burger with Dried-Cherry Ketchup. The scaled-back menu is the same at lunch and dinner, with pizzas and salads only in the late-afternoon hours between. If the "short list" drink menu doesn't cut it, ask for the complete wine list, which annotates more than 600 bottles.
Not that anyone is bragging.