The Foundry on Melrose is currently looking both forward and backward.
The backward bit: The restaurant's new menu is an ode to the shuttered Meson G, where The Foundry's chef, Eric Greenspan, worked in 2004. And the future, well, his name is Nick Russo, and he is The Foundry's new chef de cuisine.
Grilled cheese fans, don't panic. Wholesale changes have been made across the menu, but favorites like The Foundry's grilled cheese and tots are still offered.
The new dishes are wide-ranging in their influence and include Chinese pork-belly pancakes with black-vinegar gastrique ($5 a piece), and skirt steak served over Puerto Rican mofongo ($14). The latter was one of our favorite dishes: The meat and plantains were assertively seasoned, and substituting short ribs for mofongo's traditional pork was smart and appetizing.
If that dish represents the promise of this new configuration, the leaden smoked-salmon knishes ($4 a piece) proved that there are still kinks.
One section of the menu is labeled "Uniquities," a bothersome nonword redeemed by the unique dishes listed beneath it. Guinness risotto ($11) with pears, blood sausage and bits of crisped yellow cheddar is the least Italianate version of the dish we've encountered, but its slightly sweet richness works surprisingly well.
The Foundry on Melrose, 7465 Melrose Ave., Mid-City; 323-651-0915 or thefoundryonmelrose.com
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