Had my birthday at Melisse, as recommended by 'hounds. Melisse had a beautiful room and excellent service, although it was hard to get the sommelier's attention. The four of us had the prix fixe, and I had the sashimi appetizer, followed by the john dory, the ribeye/steak, and finishing off with four cheese. The amuse geule was a "parfait" of cucumber and cucumber-infused frothiness. Interesting, refreshing, but not very tasty. The rest of the meal is kind of a blur, but the cheese plate was a standout--everything I had was at the right temperature, and it was a good mix of some local Cali cheese & imported French stuff. I wasn't wowed by the food, but it was interesting, well-portioned, and served with professionalism. It's impressive enough of a place to take clients, but not overly stuffy.
On the recommendation of one of Evan Kleinman's guests on Good Food, I tried Nad Pod. Yum! It's closer to me than Ruen Pair, and very comparable in tastiness. The papaya salad was pretty damn spicy at medium, and the noodle dish we had (can't remember which) was good. But most impressive was #59 Spicy Pork Leg--awesome! Fried, fatty slices of pork with mint leaves & chilis. It was even good the next day. The room is pretty but not too fancy, and they delivery. I can't wait to go back. On the radio, the guest was talking up a dish that was pork leg that was baked and then fried (or maybe fried and then baked...) that sounded fabulous.
In the same mini-mall is a soon-to-be-opening Indian restaurant. The owners said that it should open in a month. How cool to have good sushi (Saito), good thai and hopefully good indian in the same mini-mall!!
I also hit Rambutan, and was slightly surprised. This time we stuck to the "Thai tapas" instead of the regular entrees, and we made a wise decision. But what happened to Rambutan's happy hour? It has disappeared without a trace.