Melisse Restaurant, Santa Monica, 7/20/16

exterior
exterior

Melisse is a fairly large restaurant located in Santa Monica near Los Angeles. The chef/owner Josiah Citrin had two Michelin stars when Michelin covered the LA area. It is French cuisine presented in an soft contemporary dining room full of fairly casual people. My understanding is that the dining room was done over in an attempt to obtain that third star, but then Michelin pulled out. There were a ton of service personnel that provided efficient but not overly engaging service. I noticed that not one woman was seen on the staff except for the greeter/hostess. We chose their 10 course tasting and our own bottles of wine. They offer vegetarian and regular tasting menus (numerous choices for each course), with optional supplements. 

entry
entry
Frankie posed by their honors
Frankie posed by their honors
interior
interior
interior
interior
booths on two sides
booths on two sides
great ceiling fixture
great ceiling fixture
Frankie watched a video in the reception area
Frankie watched a video in the reception area
menu cover
menu cover
menu 1
menu 1
Menu 2
Menu 2
menu 3
menu 3
dineL.A. menu
dineL.A. menu
Supplements
Supplements
Frankied studied the cookbook
Frankied studied the cookbook
table set up
table set up

 

Our meal started with a couple amuse bouche,  the tomato being mildly tasty and the soda being light and fizzy. There was also an oyster with sea grapes and sour sea lettuce broth that was simple but nice and unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of it.

Tomatoes and goat cheese with pistachios
Tomatoes and goat cheese with pistachios
IMG_2103
Marigold and Calamansi (citrus fruit, cross between mandarin orange and kimquat)
wine front
wine front
wine back
wine back
bread tray
bread tray
Frankie checked out the butter
Frankie checked out the butter

 

The meal began with Egg Caviar that was served with a really good piece of puff pastry. Not a new concept dish, but it was a good take on the standard with the caviar adding a satisfying saltiness.

Egg caviar: soft poached egg, lemon creme fraiche, sturgeon caviar
Egg caviar: soft poached egg, lemon creme fraiche, sturgeon caviar
Red wine
Red wine

 

The “Caprese” was good rendition of this standard. The bigger green tomato was really tasty and the balsamic added a sweetness to the dish. The cucumber was an interesting introduction but blended quite well.

IMG_2146
“Caprese”: Heirloom cherry tomatoes, lemon cucumber, basil, white chocolate, balsamic reduction
Frankie thought the green roll was wild
Frankie thought the green roll was wild

 

The Corn Potage had a really intriguing taste, with essence of curry and brown butter. There were very few mushrooms.

start
start
Corn Potage: Brentwood corn, chanterelle mushrooms, whipped black truffle
Corn Potage: Brentwood corn, chanterelle mushrooms, whipped black truffle
Frankie wondered about the table decoration
Frankie wondered about the table decoration

 

The foie gras was good, but then it’s hard to wreck this!

IMG_2173
Foie Gras Torchon: Persian mulberries, Meyeer lemon jam, pistachio nourgatine, toasted brioche
clsoe up
close up
Frankie took a nap on the purse stool
Frankie took a nap on the purse stool

 

In the Spot Prawn dish the prawn was cooked perfectly and the crackers added a wonderful crunch.  The Aori Ika is a Japanese squid. The cuttle fish in the dish was visually fun but so mild it added no taste.

IMG_2199
Santa Barbara Spot Prawn: Aori Ika, radish, white sesame, sweet miso, red shiso broth
There was only a tail for Frankie
There was only a tail for Frankie

 

The Halibut was cooked to perfection served in a divine sauce. It was a scrumptious dish.

Wild Alaskan Halibut: Summer pole beans, lobster mushrooms, sauce grenobloise
Wild Alaskan Halibut: Summer pole beans, lobster mushrooms, sauce grenobloise

 

The Beef dish combined a fairly dull bit of braised beef cheek with a nicely rare piece of average cap meat, as this is usually a cut that bursts with flavor.  The sauce was nice.

Before sauce
Before sauce
IMG_2263
Prime Beef Rib Eye Cap: Braised beef cheek, courgettes, charred leek, king trumpet mushroom, sauce choron
Frankie continued to explore the table decoration
Frankie continued to explore the table decoration

 

The Cheese Danish looked wonderful but it should have tasted better. The lower bits that sat in the honey were quite good, neither the fig or blue cheese had the flavor I expected.

Cheese Danish: Foume d'AMbert, brown turkey figs, peppered honey
Cheese Danish: Foume d’AMbert, brown turkey figs, peppered honey
Frankie liked the bathroom flowers
Frankie liked the bathroom flowers
interesting art work
interesting art work

 

The Chocolate dessert was good but pretty ordinary as these things go. It wasn’t hard to leave a lot of it on the plate.

Chocolate Nutella Crunch: Hazelnut praline, toated barley ice cream
Chocolate Nutella Crunch: Hazelnut praline, toated barley ice cream
inside
inside
Frankie inspected the remains
Frankie inspected the remains

 

The Melon Ice was light, cool and sweet with a lovely contrast of textures between the icy layer and jelly portion. It had just the right amount of sweetness to make it a winner.

IMG_2338
Melon Ice: sugar cube melon granité, lychee sorbet, milk mousse, almond tapioca
Chef Josiah Citrin with Frankie
Chef Josiah Citrin with Frankie
ironing the tablecloth on the table
ironing the tablecloth on the table

 

The extra treats were pretty but the jelly was a dud.  However the bon bon was a knock out. It reminded me strangely enough of a good peanut butter and jelly. The macaroon was as bad as it’s color portended whereas the canelé was among the best I’ve ever had. It was perfect and I could have devoured a plate of them.

IMG_2352
Final treats: Canelé, ‘once upon a tea’ macaroon, salted popcorn bon bon, boysenberry jelly
Frankie found a statue to pose with
Frankie found a statue to pose with

 

The lemon tea was nice but forgettable.

Maltese tea: lemon balm
Maltese tea: lemon balm
Frankie drew a smiley face on the stain cover
Frankie drew a smiley face on the stain cover

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