Remember when we could jump in our cars, valet park and have a friendly greeting at the door from the host at one of our favorite restaurants? Melisse take-away is the next best thing. It’s a real treat to taste the flavors of a local institution with some hardcore credentials. Chef Josiah Citrin has been cooking for us in Santa Monica for over 20 years with his French-Californian style cooking, showcasing his talents with dishes that are familiar, yet waver on down right decadent.
Melisse’s menu begins with a simple approach to take-out, starting with a smooth Tomato Soup with Strawberry and Burrata. Sweet tomatoes cooked and strained with a light introduction of creamy cheese, creates the most delicate soup, especially when it’s served with a warm roll and butter.
Lobster Bolognese, the dish most of us crave from Melisse during these stay-at-home orders, does not disappoint in a go-to container. Creamy strands of pasta are not quite suffocated with chunks of lobster and shrimp in a brown butter truffle sauce, then twirled admirably with a fork for a spectacular presentation. After quick heat in the microwave, and a fast transfer to a China plate, it’s as though I am back in the dining room once again.
Succulent slices of duck served with twice cooked potatoes, farro and mushroom risotto and whipped potatoes, or a filet of beef with a cannelloni-style pasta filled with shredded beef, become the week’s best meal, hands down. The easy heating instructions on both entrees make this dinner remarkably easy to transfer to the home table, and don’t skip a beat on tenderness or taste.
As for dessert, Lemon Toffee Crunch Coconut Dacquoise with whipped cream. Probably the least impressive in the bunch, with the exception of the crunch and cream. The pastry filling tasted fairly firm, and lacked a bit of fruity magic. However, the lovely presentation made me miss the entire dining experience at the restaurant. That being said, the take-away option is just what the doctor ordered during these unusual times.
Melisse is one restaurant that will hopefully stand the test of time, and for $59, we are all lucky to have this fine dining take-away option on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The menu rotates weekly, and this week’s menu is more of a Greek inspired creation from Chef Citrin, but you can still get the Lobster Bolognese as an add-on option. I can hardly wait.