Melisse's 10-year anniversary special features ten classic dishes - favorites of the last ten years. I was very curious what these ten classics are, and how good they are. The ten course meal goes for $150 per person. But that's not all. Corkage is a mere $10/bottle up to two bottles per table, AND each person takes home a $50 gift card.
lemon creme fraiche, American caviar
Naturally a 10-course meal consisting of what's considered to be Melisse "classics" would include the egg caviar. Here American sturgeon caviar is used. Get all the layers in one bite - half-boiled egg, creme fraiche, and caviar. It's a delectable combination.
Pickled cucumber, avocado mousseline, Yuzu vinaigrette
A very refined dish. The avocado mousseline was amazingly smooth. Tuna tartar with avocado just did not excite me at first but this one was above and beyond others. It brought me back from all the excitement of "adventurous" dishes to perfection of a classic dish.
Mandarin Tomato Soup
Tomato tartare and sorbet
The juxtaposition of the warm tomato soup with the cold sorbet was quite interesting (though I think it sent my mouth into mild heat/cold shocks :P ). What was intriguing to us was how the sorbet does not melt during the time we were eating.
Seared Rougie Foie Gras
Black Mission Figs, Pain d'epice, Banyuls Reduction
Perhaps because it was preluded by such refined and wonderful dishes, in a rare but I guess not impossible occasion, I found the seared foie gras the weakest dish of the night. While the pain d'epice was great, I found the foie gras itself a bit 'stringy' and not particularly flavorful.
Fresh Cappelini, Truffle Froth
Even though Melisse is known as a French restaurant, their food is not purely French and Italian influences can be found in dishes like this one or the gnocchi that I had on a previous visit.
With that said, the lobster bolognese was my favorite dish of the night. The thin pasta strands were so delicate, and do I need to tell you my love affair with truffle?
Dover Sole "Goujonettes"
Sweet white corn, Chanterelle mushrooms, toasted almonds, Scallions
Moist fish with crispy skin and delicate sauce. Though I'm not sure about the transition from the boldly flavored bolognese to this delicate dish where the boldest flavor comes from the Chanterelles- the dish in itself was excellent.
Cote de Boeuf Roti
Potato Leek Torte, Summer Pole Beans, Wild Mushrooms, Herb Jus
Of course the heaviest dish had to come last when I was most full ... the two bites that I did have was excellent though. The beef was juicy and flavorful, pretty tender and actually a bit "gamey". I loved the creamy potato leek torte with crispy crust.
Honey Pepper Gastrique
Because of the word "tart" I expected a dessert dish similar to a cheesecake, but instead this was a nice creative twist on the cheese course. Apparently ReBlochon is best between May and September - perfect timing. Instead of a cheese board with condiments, here you have the rich creamy and smooth ReBlochon cheese with pastry crust, and your sweet/spicy gastrique.
So simple but done so well. A wonderfully tart and refreshing first dessert works very well as a palate cleanser. And yes we cleaned the plate.
I love chocolate souffle. And I love Melisse's chocolate souffle. Airy and fluffy souffle, the way it should be, filled with rich chocolate ganache. Heavenly.
After this meal I couldn't help but think my first mediocre visit to Melisse was an off-meal. The quality of the dishes put out tonight were excellent, service was spot on - they deserve their 2 Michelin stars even if Michelin won't bother coming back to LA next year. This ten course meal is a worthy experience - and hey we came home with $100 gift card and a most excellent leftover for lunch! Don't miss out.
All photos: http://gourmetpigs.blogspot.com/2009/...