I can now add another Michelin-star restaurant to my “have-tried” list! To celebrate my grad school endeavors, H took me to Mélisse, a Michelin 2-Star award winning traditional French restaurant known for its season-driven prix fixe menus by Chef Josiah Citrin. With a constantly changing menu, Mélisse provides French cuisine second to none with the utmost perfection in both taste and presentation, so it comes as no surprise that it was voted one of the Top 40 Restaurants in the US since 2006 by Gayot, number one rated restaurant in Los Angeles since 2003 by Zagat, and “One of the Finest Five Star Properties in the World” by Forbes Travel Guide in 2013.
All ratings and awards aside, I have to say that of all the glitzy restaurants I’ve visited, Mélisse proved to be the most impressive in every aspect. Upon being seated, I noticed a Congratulations card and a little black box of chocolates waiting for me. While I was busy taking pictures of the card, H nudged me to open up my menu… and there was my name. My name was on the menu! “Delighted” would have been a choice word to sum up my emotions at that time. Service went above and beyond my expectations – I even lost count of the number of times I was graciously told “Congratulations” by the courteous and attentive staff.
Food-wise, I can’t even begin to properly describe what I tasted. Let’s just say I now truly know what food heaven is like. H and I opted for the 10-course tasting menu (I’m a cheap date and don’t drink, so no wine pairing for us) and the menu went something like this…
Soft Poached Egg, Lemon Crème Fraîche, American Caviar
Foie Gras Terrine
Yuzu Gelee, Almond Dacquoise, Persimmons and Ginger
Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Chestnut Crumble and Whipped Black Truffle
Black Quinoa, Sweet Onion Soubise, Pea Tendrils and Fermented Black Bean
Young Turnips, Brussels Sprouts, Lobster-Mushroom Consommé
Chatham Bay Cod
Young Tatsoi, Smoked Garlic, Sunchoke Velouté
Flat Iron Steak
Braised Beef Cheek, Potato Gratin, Young Carrots, Mustard Greens, Stinging Nettle
Dry Aged Sonoma Lamb Loin
Lamb Merguez, Braised Lamb Shank, Shelling Beans and Swiss Chard
Barhi Date, Bacon Mousse, Black Pepper Honey
Chocolate Nutella Crunch
Heilala Vanilla Ice Cream
Rincon Del Mar Cherimpya, Tapioca Pearls, Tangerine Sorbet
For my outfit choice, I decided to play it simple yet statement-making. Usually one to pick out a dark hue, I changed it up and opted for a red body-hugging dress (sold out – similar here and here; splurge here) with SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker black pointy pumps (sold out – similar here; splurge here). But I still couldn’t resist topping it off with a classic leather jacket (love this one), a no-fail option to polishing off any outfit and also conveniently hides any food-baby bumps after a big delicious dinner!
Needless to say, no matter how much I go on and on about Mélisse, it will never do the restaurant and food much justice. All I can say is, if you happen to be able to get a table here (make your reservations early), go for it! You can also try it out during the upcoming Los Angeles Restaurant Week. Either way, dining at Mélisse will be a food affair you’ll always want to remember.
1104 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401