Three of us Westsiders braved 1.5 hours of Los Angeles traffic to have dinner at MaréMelrose during the minor rain drizzle tonight.
We wondered how it would go at this outside dining room if that rain got going, but we understood that the crowded restaurant tables would have umbrellas and the rain had already stopped.
It was fun getting in through Greenspan's Grilled Cheese Toasty! Hard to avoid going through the rest room door! Once we arrived, everyone was very warm, friendly and helpful and we were promptly seated with the hostess leading us along a very narrow path to our table.
A large group of more than eight diners right behind our table were robust but the chatter of happy diners and the music were totally mellowed by the open sky.
Altho there were only three of us, we were hungry and the menu was spartan, so we wound up ordering just about everything on the menu!
Before we ordered, we immediately were served fabulous
appetizers of nuts, hot peppers, exotic olives, fruits, sweet peppers
and some items that were totally unfamiliar!
The people next to us had a dish that we could not identify from the menu, so we asked them. It was garnished slices of pork belly, not on the menu! It prompted us to ask our waiter what was available that was not on the menu, and we got to add ahi tuna with grapefruit and garnishes to our order.
We had the crudite of market vegetables, a generous dish of shellfish with tomato, fennel, pistou, (we asked and got pasta with it), relish salt roasted potatoes, broccolini, with chili and garlic, a whole branzino with fig and pomegranate sauce, a drink of mescal with rosemary and smoke, beer, a glass of white wine, a bottle of sparkling water, For dessert, shortbread cookies, the chocolate crepe, with chili whip cream, and best of all, the blood orange trifolo with semolina cake in a kumquat fruit compote, followed by coffee for all.
While we were eating, the rain started coming down more seriously, not heavy, but a little wet. The busboy brought umbrellas, almost knocking down an entire wall of candles in glass containers…six times!
After that, we asked him to turn off the heat lamp and he almost brought the house down doing so.
During the rain, both the chef and maitre d came to each table to assure patrons that they were not ignoring the fact that it was raining, and if we wished to leave, there would be no charge for dinner! If we decided to stay, every new thing we ordered would be discounted 50%!
As it turned out, the bill came with a 50% discount on everything!
Now this restaurant had very sensible pricing to begin with, and ordering almost everything on the menu with that discount came to a mere $84.00 for that fabulous feast. We tipped based on the 100% prices. It was fun, delicious and we wound up talking and laughing with the people from all the tables around us. Imagine doing
that against the deafening roar that most L.A. restaurants boast.
THEN, as we left, the waitress gave all three of us coupons worth
$25.00 each, supposedly for our tolerating the rain! I loved the rain, we never got wet and it brought an adventure to our dining.
The discount made us joyful, but it was more than that; it was dining and being in the hands of such a caring crew. We would have been happy with no discount. I wanted to go to Mare´ because the photos reminded me of another great place, long gone from Melrose, Fellini’s, where we all hung out during film school days and everyone always welcomed us and made certain we had great fun!
Very prescient, ya?