A six year old Tatjana watched Brad do my make-up, and insisted on doing his.

Brad Boles was actually my gay husband before Real Housewives of New York, Jill Zarin’s. In fact I don’t recall ever divorcing him, which makes him a bigamist in the nicest possible manner. We just spent a fun filled weekend together during his whirlwind trip to LA, and dined in splendor at Melisse in Santa Monica.

Stretching the truth (it was the first time I’d seen him since my birthday)

Always one to sweep a girl off her feet, Brad told the restaurant it was my birthday. Nice touch, darling, but you’re only two months late. The little gift box and it’s contents quickly made up for the fib.

Time for the B&B test now (freshly baked bread is a precursor to any great meal, and if the bathroom is clean, the kitchen most likely is too).

Bacon Bread and Basil Brioche that passed the freshly baked test with flying colors!

Julie Anne Rhodes completing the B&B test

Pleased to report the very pretty bathroom was sparkling, and the Basil Brioche so fresh and fragrant it was difficult to restrain myself from filling up on bread.

The first hint of what a treat we were in for!

Greetings from Chef Josiah Citrin with an exquisite Amuse Bouche of concord grapes- one rolled in goats cheese and ground pistachios, the other injected with pistachio oil. Sheer heaven on a spoon.

First Course

Heirloom Beet Root Salad, Satsuma Orange, Avocado, and Beamster Goat Gouda

and

Spring Onion-Parmesan Soup, Maryland Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, Meyer Lemon

Both dishes were outstanding, executed with the precision of a true culinary master. We might as well have been back in Europe with all of the panache and professionalism of how it was served as well.

Second Amuse Bouche

Tuna Tartar, Orange Gelee, Fennel Flan, and Cashew Cream

The Amuse Bouche that followed could only be described as a sublime pairing of flavors and textures yet again.

Second Course

Atlantic Turbot, Kohlrabi, Baby Broccoli, Cornichon and Pine Nuts

and

Monterey Abalone, Young Leeks, “CromesquisD’Ooursin“, Coconut-Shellfish Jus

I was proud of myself for trying the Abalone, but especially pleased that I’d ordered the Turbot. If I closed my eyes, I could almost fool myself into believing I was back in Provence.

Third Course

Spring Veal, Asparagus, Morel Mushrooms, Roasted Onion Stuffed Sweet Breads, Natural Jus

and

Sonoma Lamb and Sausage, Fava Beans, Green Garlic, Savory Lamb Jus

By the time the next course arrived, I was starting to feel quite full, but decided it was well worth gorging myself since every bite burst with intense, yet simplistic flavor. My only criticism was I thought the lamb was just slightly too rare, but that certainly did not dissuade either one of us.

Dessert

Thin Apple Tart with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, and Caramel Sauce

Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate: Valrohna Chocolate Souffle injected with still more Valrohna Chocolate, Chocolate and Peanut Butter Ganache, White Chocolate Coated Chocolate Ice Cream, and Pot de Creme.

Who couldn’t make room for desserts as beautiful as these? They certainly did not disappoint. In fact, I was caught lapping up the last of my caramel sauce off of the plate with my fingers!

Third Amuse Bouche

Cookies and Canelle

Fourth Amuse Bouche (I think they wanted us to stay longer)

Cherries with Sabayone and Sugar

Oh sigh! I wish I’d asked for a doggy bag to bring home the scrumptiously gooey Canelles and delicate little cookies. Another kind surprise that left us feeling as welcome and well looked after as if we’d been a guest in Chef Citrin’s home. Alas, I was feeling like an over-stuffed goose, and uncharacteristically shy at the time.

Julie Anne and Brad May 2010

All and all a perfectly divine evening at the stunning restaurant that is truly deserving of it’s two Michelin stars. I want to go back to do the vegetarian tasting menu next time. I wish Brad would come to visit more often!

Brad insisted we do this impromptu interview. Hope you have as much fun watching it as we did horsing around making it. You Tube.
P.S. It is not too late to enter the competition to win CLOAK & DAGGER BUTTERFLY by Amanda Eliasch. Enter your “ladies that lunch menu” here. Competition closes May 30thOur top four favorite menus will be posted in a pole on the blog, and YOU will choose the lucky winner.
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