Melisse in Santa Monica
Well, last night we went to Melisse's in Santa Monica and I would say it was good, but not the most incredible meal I have ever had for $300.00. That I think to date I would credit French Laundry for in Napa, now that was incredible.
But last nice was nice as we were celebrating our 15th anniversary. I had the egg caviar which was the best item that I had. It was wonderful. Such a delicate dish with such complementary flavors. Would totally recommend.
So, if you are looking for a nice place to enjoy with an unlimited expense account, this is it folks.
Anyone have their own experiences with the place?
The carte blanche menu - the all tasting menu - is terrific. A world class restaurant. I've had meals in many highly regarded, multiple Michelin-starrted restaurants - Melisse holds their own. In fact some of the best meals I've had would be at Melisse (also on that list was The French Laundry, Joel Robuchon (Mansion in Las Vegas), Louis IX, and Dal Pescatore.
Easily the best haut cusine/fine dining restaurant in Los Angeles.
I have to strongly disagree with Just Larry. Joe's? I've tried a few times, never had anything close to a great meal, never bad, but nothing special (I thought he was doing better food at Katsu on Sawtelle. I had great meals there, but that was long time ago).
Drago is very good, but not in the same league as Melisse. (and it used to be one of my favs). I've had very good meals there, and one great one. The great one was when I went with the son of a mafioso (and four other people) who really knew food.
Il Grano is hit or miss (the last time was so, well, nothing special we're not anxious to return). And Chez Mimi? Are you kidding? On 26th. So way, way NOT in the same league.
Service at Melisse is very close in style to what you would get in any great restaurant - if you're formal, they're formal, if you're fun, they're fun. Same as in Paris (whereas out in in the provinces, like, say, Burgundy; if you're fun, they're still formal.)
Melisse is my favorite high-end restaurant. I eat there about twice a month. I've had most things on the menu from the very complicated to the simple and they have all been terrific. The service is also terrific. The only thing not-to-like is the price.
You can actually keep the cost somewhat reasonable if you are careful with your selections. I have a cocktail before dinner. My GF and I usually have the price fixed dinner each with a glass of wine and desert with tip for under $200.
I'm very surprised to see negative reviews. I wonder if they don't like fine French food. Yes its expensive but the food and the service are fantastic.
I don't find the service stuffy at all. I find the service to be very helpful and down-to-earth. Its fine French dining (ala New York, Paris, etc...) without the atitude. Its a great place to try something new. Have the Server or Chef prepare something different for you.
If you are going to go to an expensive restaurant go French. And the best classic French restaurant in town is Melisse. Just my opinion.
I agree wholeheartedly with Adlai... Melisse is one of our absolute favorites. I think the food is fantastic, and very refined.
Josiah Citrin IS an ambitious chef that does take his flavors and dishes to the "edge", but that is a good thing and the man definitely has skills. We love it there.
I think it is possible to some that the formality and precision of the service and room could be a bit intimidating, but nobody should be put off at all.
I think it is highly accurate to put Melisse in the 'fine French dining' category a la NYC. I found the setting (albeit less formal) very similar to Daniel in NYC... Daniel is MORE formal than Melisse, and the food there is also wonderful!
I found some dishes superb where the dish was better than the sum of its parts. Others are poor combinations. At those prices there should be no misses. Since 2 well respected members of this group find everything excellent, it must be just a personal incompatibility. I can live with that. I have enjoyed my many meals at Drago more than my meals at Melisse. Recent meals at the improved Joe's have also been quite notable. Dinners at Il Grano have almost always been stellar, and Spago is just so fine. With so many available options, I tend to forgoe Melisse in order to insure an excellent meal every time. Chez Mimi is able to produce a very excellent meal if you make it known that you want the proper French preparation of the dish. Most of her Brentwood clientele seem to prefer the Americanized version of her food. Tart Tatin is best topped with Creme Fraische instead of whipped cream or iced cream.