Having passed by Melvin's Steak House for decades, in mid-August 2012, we finally decided to go in and see how/why it has survived 'since 1946'. Our mistake, we should have kept going and just let our imagination continue to wonder.
The first thing we saw was a large table with 4 adults and at least 8 small children and one of those kids screamed the whole time we were there. The booth we were sat in was icky and sticky as well as the 30 year old reddish plastic table cloth ...and the decor, well, let me tell you, if you enjoy tacky, grimy, run down 1940's then you'll love Melvin's. A bright spot was the waitress who was nice and friendly.
First the salad bar. It's a very small, approx. 4 ft salad bar made for midgets but at least the veggies were fresh and the salads dressings were very good, even tasted homemade which I give high points for - since it wasn't the same old cheap, watered down SYSCO crap they serve all over OC. We were hopeful. But the bread basket was a dud, featuring two really cheap, unappealing dinner rolls. I ordered the Dayton's Fried Chicken dinner, which was so salty, I barely ate any and it came with basic cheapo canned green beans. ($13.00)
Hubby ordered the 16oz Ribeye, Medium Rare for $26.00. What he received was obviously the 'House' $16 SIRLOIN steak, which was sliced a thin inch high, but wide and round, cooked to Medium, but still charged for the Ribeye.
A true Medium Rare has a 50% RED CENTER. This steak was cooked all the way through, was one same pink color throughout, with no 'raw' meat showing in the middle. The middle section should be the RARE of the Medium RARE, which is RAW. The meat had a weird grain (SEE PHOTOS) and a cheap, chewy texture like hamburger that had not been ground yet. Definitely not a Ribeye and completely tasteless, no seasonings used.
A man who was dressed like a busboy, came over to our table and asked my husband how he liked his steak... was cooked right? (I will assume this was the owner, Mr. Melvin since he did not bother to identify himself.) My husband told him the steak was over-cooked. Mr. Melvin (assuming it was he) was INCREDULOUS! "You think that's NOT Medium Rare? Hrrrrummph! That's how WE cook M/R here at Melvin's!"
The Owner/Busboy got extremely HUFFY and insisted on taking hubby's plate away to show the 'Chef' (as he called him) what we thought was Medium or more -- I guess to laugh at us 'stoopid customers' who supposedly don't know what medium rare is. (We asked him to bring the meat back so we could take it home to our dog.) While he was in the kitchen, I pulled out the ol' iPhone and googled photos of Medium Rare steak, to show him that it's supposed to have a RED CENTER. Mr. Melvin told us we were CRAZY (literally) and he became very contentious. Hubby said to him: "Go to Ruth's Chris and see how they cook a M/R steak!" and Owner said "Why go there, it's too expensive!" And with that he huffed off.
Mr. Melvin - we'd rather pay $45 or more for a QUALITY Prime or Angus cut of beef, cooked to our liking - than pay $26 for a fake steak (Sirloin) that's tasteless and over-cooked. How can a "Steak House" not know how to properly cook a steak? And more importantly, how can a steak house not be able to tell the difference between a Sirloin and a Ribeye? Ribeyes are not cut into a perfectly round disks, they're usually cut oblong into a strip with at least one straight side. On hubby's plate, the 'eye' of Ribeye was none existent and displayed no marbling at all.
We had high hopes that it was the food that's kept Melvin's going for over 60 years. However, after eating there we're are not sure what the attraction is and our curiosity has been eternally satisfied. This place is a joke and the OC health department needs to check in. Dirty, dirty, dirty!
FYI to future Melvin's customers: Don't waste your breath complaining to the owner -- unless you want to be verbally abused. Whatever happened to "THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT?" Only in Ocean City, the land of mediocre (but expensive) food - do restaurant owners ARGUE with their customers in person AND online. (See Melvin's numerous heated Tripadvisor responses to other patrons... he's embarrassing HIMSELF.
Note to Melvin - Spend more time in your kitchen than on your PC, because there is no point in defending the undefendable!
PS) I uploaded this review in Aug. 2 days after eating there and Tripadvisor never posted it, because of my photos, one was a chart from the web showing photos of "Steak Doneness".
Search images: "steak doneness chart"
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.