I loved Melisse for offering this last year, as afterall, the spirit of dineLA was originally to allow people to break out of their comfort zone, and have new culinary adventures / experiences at places they'd never been to - by bringing menus at a more affordable price. That a fine dining establishment understood this and made it possible for the non-independently-wealthy to experience it for the first time, was fantastic.
This year's select group of fine dining restaurants participating in dineLA will be doing it for $85. I'm excited to see what they will offer, as at their caliber I would expect them NOT to succumb to the more
I didn't get a chance to post about dineMelisse last July, and wanted to take the opportunity to do a recap here as I think it really gives a great idea of the high standards Melisse maintained even with a Restaurant Week deal (I put their name now next to Craft as my favs for exemplary food and service, people who really take pride in their work regardless of the occasion).
All in all, an amazing first meal at Melisse and I look forward to more, especially with this next iteration of dineLA or client meals!
1104 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401Ph: 310.395.0881
OpenTable: Look for reservations (and points!) here
Looking over the $85 fine dining menus for dineLA, it's difficult to get a sense of savings as most of the items do not appear on the regular menu. That said, it's also difficult to imagine walking out of any of these restaurants on a non-dineLA night with a less than $85 per person bill. So looking purely from an 'experience' and points of interest POV, here are my picks from among the creme de la creme this around:
They had me at Naked Cowboy Oyster, Dungeness Crab, Wagyu Beef Tartare and Devil's Gulch Quail. And, based on (1) the regular prix fixe menu being $125, it would be rare that I would get a chance to eat here, if not for dineLA and (2) the great experience last year with dineLA, I would return again to check out this year's offering..
The 'teaser' dish is listed on their regular dinner menu as an antipasti for $18 - though not sure what the dineLA portion size will be like. But the dineLA menu has many options that make my eyes and mouth water. Starters include jumbo shrimp, grilled octopus with squid ink fregula, and 'orange sized' arancini. First courses feature magic words: porcini, veal, wild boar. Second courses: duck breast, cioppino, lamb stew.
Make a day trip of it, reserve one of the weekend dates (1/25 or 1/26) and enjoy the oceanfront Terranea property in Palos Verdes when you head down to mar'sel.
The dineLA menu consists of your choice of 6 small plates. Not sure how much you would save, but if you have been wanting to check out this place and/or take a date here for the location, but wasn't sure because of pricing...now may be the time, when you have a 'safety' on your bill.
My picks from a maximization perspective would be: Pate de Campagne, Halibut Cheeks, Lamb Sausage, Crispy Duck Confit, Spaghetti & Meatballs, Spiced Dark Chocolate Tart. For those who are not into desserts, the mysterious sounding Kale 'Wich looks interesting.
Do share your pics / intel on these if you go!