Jennifer and I loved Melisse long before Michelin discovered it and hung two stars on the wall. Itís not just one of my two current favorite California restaurants, it ranks up there alongside many of the other great L.A. spots Iíve enjoyed through the years Ė Scandia, Perinoís, The Windsor Room, Chassenís.
Josiah Citrin opened Melisse in Santa Monica on Bastille Day 1999. I was tipped to the place by Josiahís father-in-law, who was my partner in a golf tournament and mentioned that his son-in-law had opened a new restaurant. Jennifer and I were there for the first time soon after it opened.
We have been back countless times since and will continue to return frequently. There is nothing about Melisse that isnít first class. The food is magnificent; the dťcor is elegant; the staff is friendly, knowledgeable and efficient.
There is pride in every corner of Melisse and it is justified, from the quality of the food to the attention to detail shown by the waiters as they put the final touches on a dish at table side.
Yes, Melisse is very pricey. You go there to dine, not to eat. But whether you order the tasting menu for the whole table, or opt for a la carte, itís worth every penny. There simply is no place in California that delivers better taste and a more stylish and classy experience. Josiah is a genius when it comes to foie gras. His attention to detail in creating seasonal menus is flawless. Game dishes in season are magnificent. No matter what your taste Ė fish, pork, lamb, beef Ė itís top quality and creatively prepared and presented. And to cap off your evening, the cheese cart is as good as it gets, the wine list is excellent and the staff is friendly and helpful.
A friend recently mentioned going to Melisse for some special occasion. I told her Melisse is its own special occasion.