Melisse vs. Josie
So we've narrowed it down to these two for our special occasion and we're leaning towards Melisse but reading the archives on Melisse gives me some pause about going there. There seems to be a history of snooty service, which is what I am trying to avoid.
Our anniversary is a Monday and some of the other places we wanted to go are closed on Mondays. Also one of the negative posts I read on Melisse was specifically about Mondays not being a good time to go because that's usually the chef's day off.
Any further thoughts?
I found the service at Melisse to be not at all snooty, just formal; much more like a New York restaurant. The service at Josie is warmer, more L.A.-casual, but also very professional. The food is very good at both places. Again, at Melisse it's more formal, rarified. Josie's offerings are more rustic, specializing in game, with wonderful vegetable garnishes. I really loved it. Josie's is less expensive. It really depends on what you're looking for in an anniversary celebration. I think you can't go wrong either way. A Melisse evening will be more orchestrated/formal, and a Josie evening will be more personal/comfortable. The back room at Josie is actually pretty romantic, and I"m sure if you tell them it's your anniversary they'll give you a nice table. As for the chef's night off theory, I'm sure that's true at some restaurants, but in my experience it's not as universally true as people think. And I also think it doesn't matter as much as people think. Where I live in New YOrk, for instance, Sunday is known as chef's night off. But all the chefs who have it off are dining out in other people's restaurants, so can it really be such a bad idea? Good restaurants have good chefs de cuisine or sous chefs, and there's a good likelihood Melisse is in good hands even if the chef isn't there.
Oh, and happy anniversay!