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Mélisse: 99 Essential Restaurants 2013 

Thursday, Feb 28 2013
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If the casual-ification of the restaurant scene has got you down, if you'd still like to swish into a hushed, formal room, if you wish every now and then that a besuited maître d' would refer to you as "M'lady," well, there's still Mélisse. Josiah Citrin's Santa Monica holdout of fine dining is now 14 years old, and benefits from being both that young and that old: It came about when respect for haute cuisine was still a guiding principle for weighty restaurants but not so long ago that its room or food seem outdated. There are a number of menus to choose from, ranging from the bargain $125-per-person, four-courser to a 15-course extravaganza for which no price or menu is listed, presumably because if you have to ask, you can't afford it. As you might imagine, everything is presented with a flourish, from the cocktails to bread service to Citrin's modern French food, which relies far more on old-fashioned technique and bold flavors than on science or whiz-bang tricks to keep your attention. For the high rollers, there's a seasonally available truffle menu and numerous supplements, from a cheese course to Russian caviar to wine in the four- to five-figure range (surprisingly, there also is plenty that's reasonable on this list — bottles start at $30 to $40). For the rest of us, Mélisse remains one of the few special-occasion restaurants that feels truly special. In this age of raucous, fun dining, every now and then it's nice to slip into something less comfortable but gloriously grand. 1104 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; (310) 395-0881, melisse.com. Tues.-Thurs., 6-9 p.m.; Fri., 6-10 p.m.; Sat., 5:45-10 p.m. Three-course prix fixe dinner $125. Full bar.

 

Besha Rodell's Introduction

Location Info

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Anne Fishbein's Photography

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The 99 Essential Restaurants List:

A-Frame
Alma
Angelini Osteria
Animal
Attari Sandwich Shop
Bäco Mercat
Bar Amá
The Bazaar
Bestia
BierBeisl
Bludso's
Cacao Mexicatessen
Canelé
La Casita Mexicana
Cemitas Poblanas Elviritas
Chichen Itza
Chung King
Cole's
Coni'Seafood
Cube Cafe & Marketplace
Din Tai Fung
Eva
Father's Office
Fred 62
Gjelina
Golden Deli
Go's Mart
Il Grano
Guelaguetza
Guisados
Hatfield's
Ha Tien Quan
Hawkins House of Burgers
Hayat's Kitchen
El Huarache Azteca
Huckleberry
The Hungry Cat
ink.
Jar
Jitlada
JTYH Heavy Noodle II
Kang Ho Dong Baekjong
Kiriko
Kiyokawa
Kogi Truck
Krua Siri
L&E Oyster Bar
Langer's
Little Dom's
Lucques
Ludo Truck
Lukshon
Mariscos Jalisco
Matsuhisa
Meals by Genet
Mélisse
Milo and Olive
Mo-Chica
Musso & Frank
Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa
Nickel Diner
Night + Market
Oinkster
Osteria Mozza
Pann's
Pa-Ord Noodle
El Parian
Park's BBQ
Philippe the Original
Picca
Pink's
Pizzeria Mozza
Playa
Pollo a la Brasa
Providence
R&R Soul Food
Ración
Red Medicine
Ricky's Fish Tacos
Rivera
Rocio's Moles de los Dioses
Salt's Cure
Sapp Coffee Shop
Savoy Kitchen
Sea Harbour
Shanghai No. 1 Village Seafood
Soban
Son of a Gun
Sotto
Spago
The Spice Table
Superba Snack Bar
Tacos Leo
The Tasting Kitchen
Tavern
Tsujita LA
Vincenti Ristorante
Wurstküche
Zam Zam Market

Reach the writer at brodell@laweekly.com

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