Here's a case of auspicious Fourth of July/Bastille Day holiday season timing. Last Friday, Caché Restaurant and Lounge began serving French and American, fresh market-oriented dishes. Executive chef Josiah Citrin explains to us that he was inspired by "the fun of doing something more accessible and relaxed, and keep great quality and service." The well-priced menu -- combined with the outdoor lounge and flex seating plan -- makes a lot of sense. Our current restaurant climate is certainly primed for a less hushed, yet lower key, alternative to Mélisse, Citrin's fine dining shingle.
Architects and designers Shubin & Donaldson and Ann-Sofi Holst completely made over what was formerly the unfortunately named Hidden. Working alongside Citrin is Chef de Cuisine Nyesha Arrington, who spent time in Joel Robuchon's kitchens at L'Atelier and The Mansion. Tony Trincanello (Craft, Penthouse at the Huntley Hotel) manages the front of the house, and changing exhibitions of work by local artists is co-curated with Aldis Browne Fine Arts of Santa Monica.
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Caché's getting off the ground also coincides with the tenth anniversary of Mélisse, which will be marked by marathon ten-course dinners showcasing Citrin's favorites that will be served throughout the month. "The whole menu excites me, because I'm doing a twist on classic French dishes," Citrin says. ($150 per, exclusive of tax, gratuity and beverages). This price includes a $50 gift card for future use at Mélisse, and corkage is only $10 for the first two bottles.
Citrin's four-course dinner is on tap for Bastille Day ($100), which will also give diners a sense of the restaurant's achievements. Look for onion soup with beef consommé, and truffle and onion and cheese ravioli, croque madame with smoked salmon, brioche, quail egg and caviar, and have fun choosing between gateau aux chocolate "jour et nuit" vs. peach melba come dessert time on Tuesday.
Caché: 3110 Main Street, Santa Monica, (310) 399-4800.
Mélisse: 1104 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 395-0881.