I like great food, great service, great ambience as a platform for great conversation when I dine out in large groups. I don't always get it. But I got it at Ortolan today. Just for comparison, I was at Melisse recently for my parents' anniversary. Food was off except for the tomato dishes, and my stepdad got into an argument with the sommelier about sediment in the wine–the sommelier was standoffish and treated my stepdad like he didn't know anything about wine. The customer may not always be right, but the service was not professional and courteous, as it should be in a truly great restaurant.
We had a tasting menu paired wines by the bottle at Ortolan today. Food was creative, if not ingenious, and executed very well. The restaurant decor is some serendipitous postmodern blend of brick, chandeliers, high booths and comfortable chairs. Not to ruin the surprise, but an example of Christophe Émé's genius is his "caviar" dessert–panna cotta with tapioca. Great texture and flavor composition with a brilliantly whimsical presentation.
Service by our server Patrick and his team was attentive, friendly and professional, the last two in combination being something of a rarity. Our sommelier suggested wines that everyone at the table appreciated. Michelin stars be damned. For my money, Ortolan is on the top 5 list of restaurants in LA right now.