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Melisse or Ritz Carlton Dining Room?

LawrenceS Oct 30, 2004 08:53 PM

I am planning a special birthday dinner and trying to decide between the truffle tasting menu at Melisse in Santa Monica OR what I hear is amazing cooking by Craig Strongs at the Ritz Carlton Dining Room in Pasadena. I'd love to here what you hounders think - or if you have another splurge birthday suggestion. Thanks.

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    ipse dixit RE: LawrenceS Oct 30, 2004 11:22 PM

    It would be Melisse for me.

    The food is better and more even. The dishes are also more inventive, whereas the stuff that Craig Strongs produces feels a bit more restrained (perhaps its because the Dining Room is a hotel restaurant). I also think, dollar for dollar, Melisse is a better bargain.

    Might also consider Valentino - I just had a wonderful chef's table experience there a couple of nights ago.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ipse dixit
      LawrenceS RE: ipse dixit Oct 31, 2004 11:39 AM

      Thank you, everyone. Based on your help, and my instincts, I'm going to go for Melisse - and I will report back!

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      carter RE: LawrenceS Oct 31, 2004 12:11 AM

      It might depend on whose birthday you are celebrating. Both are good options, both are semi-formal, yet both are very different. An older person, especially over 60, would probably relate better to the Ritz Carlton than someone half that age, and vice versa. Jared is the consummate host in Pasadena, whereas the front of the house in S/M is just ok, and the wine list is very deep in Pasadena, albeit both lists are quite expensive.
      Go with your instincts, yet be sure to report your findings.

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        Tom P RE: LawrenceS Oct 31, 2004 09:50 AM

        I agree that the food at Melisse is better. I have dined at both restaurants recently, and while the Ritz is very good, and the patio is just lovely, the food at Melisse definately wins.

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          Ashlee RE: LawrenceS Oct 31, 2004 12:21 PM

          Melisse...I have been to both and prefer Melisse!!

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            DonnyMac RE: LawrenceS Nov 1, 2004 06:44 PM

            Melisse. I've been to both and while I enjoyed Craig Strong's menu and execution, Melisse presents a better overal experience. A possible reason to prefer the Ritz would be if you were going to get a room there for the evening.

            1 Reply
            1. re: DonnyMac
              Jon RE: DonnyMac Nov 2, 2004 02:44 AM

              True enough. The rooms at Melisse are cramped at best and they lack beds.

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              estnet RE: LawrenceS Jun 23, 2008 09:03 PM

              I'd like to ask this question again for a possible early July 08 dinner. Any current updates, opinions?

              3 Replies
              1. re: estnet
                russkar RE: estnet Jun 23, 2008 09:44 PM

                MELISSE hands down! Carte Blanche Menu if you have the time and desire.

                1. re: russkar
                  ipsedixit RE: russkar Jun 23, 2008 09:47 PM

                  ... and if you don't have the time or wherewithal for the carte blanche, I highly recommend the rotisserie chicken for 2, served tableside. One of the most exquisite dining experiences you'll have with chicken as the star attraction.

                  1. re: ipsedixit
                    russkar RE: ipsedixit Jun 23, 2008 10:10 PM

                    We love that Chicken also, which we insert into the CB menu occasionally.

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