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Birthday Dinner with a nice bottle of Bordeaux?

Detroit Slim Jul 17, 2006 08:59 PM

I'm turning 35 this weekend, and want to not only celebrate the birthday, but commemorate last summer's trip to France.

First thought was Melisse in Santa Monica, but the reviews seem a bit mixed and slipping down.

Is there still some luster at Melisse? Is there a better place? If I'm going out to have a once-a-year type meal, what's the place to look for now? I like French, and French-infused cooking, love a good cheese plate, and the bottle of Bordeaux or a lusty St. Emilion seem to be the guiding force behind this meal.


  1. chica Jul 17, 2006 11:24 PM

    Oh, Melisse still tops many fine French restaurants in LA. That, along with LaCachette, L'Orangerie, Jiraffe, and Bel-Air Dining Room. I suppose it depends on what sort of ambience you want. Melisse has quite the lighted, airy dining room, and the chef can be a bit experimental (he once worked at Patina, and was a surfer - not that that matters to his cooking =); Jiraffe has a very romantic upstairs; LaCachette is truly a quaint restaurant, and the chef is quite a conversationalist and also an experimentalist - his specials are quite novel creations with great pairings; L'Orangerie and Bel-Air have some of the most grand settings (I love the garden at Bel-Air); and Mimosa is for something a bit more traditionally French - I'm only listing this because you'll probably find something here that you normally won't find elsewhere but in France.

    Best wishes, and HAPPY birthday!

    1. Porthos Jul 18, 2006 03:29 AM

      I'd take it to Sona. Just look at the menu:


      I wouldn't consider Jiraffe a top restaurant in LA and Bel-air wasn't that impressive either. The garden is nice, but the food isn't standout.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Porthos
        Francesca Jul 18, 2006 07:06 AM

        Sona looks like an excellent recommendation. It's now on my list.

      2. d
        Detroit Slim Jul 18, 2006 07:42 PM

        Great suggestions, thanks for the ideas! It's a coin flip between Sona & Melisse right now.

        La Cachette sounds terrific too, and has made the list as well.

        Happy Birthday to me! How can I lose?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Detroit Slim
          Porthos Jul 20, 2006 02:44 AM

          You know, if you let the chef and sommelier know which bordeaux you have, maybe they can create a custom spontanée tasting for that. If that happens, you MUST post on the experience.

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