Went with 4 people including myself. I read alot of good reviews about Melisse, so I decided to try it. Bottom line it was good, but not great and I thought that for the price there are better restaurants in LA. Basically ended up being close to $250 per person for the tasting menu with wine pairing (tax and tip included) and at that price I did not think it was worth it (Bastide and Providence blew it away at the same price).
Decor wise, I didn't like it at all and although I'll never go to a restaurant for decor alone when I go to an expensive top-end type restaurant I expect perfection across decor, food and service. The interior feels kind of old and boring, if you go to the website you can see pics.
Service wise, the server was a bit stiff, but very attentive and nice. I think the sommelier was drunk (no joke, he really looked like he was drunk), but he was pretty nice.
On to the most important thing, the food. It was a series of hits and misses.
- starters: they gave us some free starters, one was a tuna tartar that was pretty good and the second was this savory thing that was three different layers in a shot glass (which i cant remember exactly what it was)...sorry its kind of hard to explain, but it was pretty good as well
- 1st course: Lobster Bolognese w/ Fresh Cappelini, Basil, Brown Butter Truffle Essence: this was excellent, probably one of the best dishes of the night (3 out of 4 of us got this). Pasta was cooked perfectly al dente, sauce was not overpowering and you could taste the pieces of lobster, definitely a winner
- 1st course: Spring Onion-Parmesan Soup, Maryland Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, Meyer Lemon: my friend's gf got this, this was another winner. The soup sounded heavy, but was actually refreshing light and complemented the small crab cake very well...a very well put together dish
- 2nd course: Morel Crusted Dover Sole Filet, Green Asparagus, Morel Mushrooms, Sauce Mousseline: all of us got this, I was a bit disappointed in this. The morel crust didn't really add anything to the dover sole and I thought it was a bit bland. The mushroom sauce tasted good, but was a bit heavy and actually tasted better when dipping some bread in it rather than with the fish itself. Basically the dish didn't really come together all that well and thought wasn't that good (everyone agreed with me on that)
- Entree: Trio of Prime Beef "A La Moutarde," Swiss Chard, Potato Boulangere, Bearnaise Sauce: my dinner date and I both had this, it was very good. The steak part of the dish was really good with the bearnaise sauce and was a big winner. There was another beef that was like a stewed beef or something like that that was also very good
- Entree: Veal Loin, Spare Rib and Cannelloni of Shank, Morel Mushrooms, Asparagus, Anson Mills Polenta: one of the other people had this, which we all thought was pretty disappointing; it wasn't particularily flavorful and I thought the veal was a bit overcooked
- Entree: Sonoma Spring Lamb, Courgettes, Green Garlic, Nicoise Olive Lamb Jus: again this was also pretty disappointing, same as the veal in terms of review (not flavorful and a bit overcooked)
The wine pairing was decent, but none of the wines blew me away (Bastide's sommelier was much better). I didn't think wine pairing was particularily worth it here especially b/c the sommelier was pretty light handed with each glass, I felt like I'd have a few sips and be done with the glass.
Overall, it is a good restaurant, but I wasn't blown away by it and at the price point it needs to be a great restaurant for me to consider it worth it.
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