Melisse's new incarnation steps up to plate and hits a home run

Tried the new and improved, scaled-down Melisse. One thing about making it (much) smaller is everything - including timing - can be controlled. I never had issues with the old Melisse - and enjoyed it thoroughly. But the new one is a home run.

To those who like the fussy, 10+ course tasting menus with wine pairings - this is a prize.

I’ve tried many Michelin 3 starred restaurants and enjoy that decadent, delicious experience. Some are clearly better than others. Some seem creative, but don’t really hit those taste buds in a way that overwhelms. And this currently has no stars (too new) unless count the 2 they got 10 years ago.

My favorite was the The Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare.
Second was Guy Savoy. Third was The French Laundry.

I could mention many more - but those were the ones that just tickled my taste buds the most. You likely know what I’m talking about - when you and your guest(s) have one taste and you feel compelled to look at each, wide grins and go “Wow.” Or “Holy shit is that great.” “Oh!”

There was a lot of that at Melisse. Which I give a tie, sharing top honors with Brooklyn Fare. I might even give the nod to Melisse - but I really eat at both again.

The highlights?

The oyster with green tomato anglaise (fresh is not a taste, but in this case I can’t think of another term - vibrant, bright, refreshing, fantastic). the Chestnut Soup with whipped Black Truffle - wow! Big flavors, balanced, the Uni Cromesquis with truffle (my GF was ecstatic as it was a combo of her favorite things - and said it was sex. Really good sex) A beet dish where we were lifting the bowl and drink the last drops, the spiny lobster with a mind-blowingly delicious lobster sauce, and many others.

No more bread. I kinda miss the bread as there were sauces I would like to soak up with bit of bread - but this is a more modern experience (many fine-dining restaurants seem to no longer offer up bread). The good news? I had something like 15 courses (counting the appetizers) and didn’t feel bloated. Also nice because my GF didn’t complain.

Also, they’re doing something a little different with the wine pairings - in that they give you not one wine, but a choice of a white AND red. You can go back forth.

I look forward to many returns.


I’ve brought my own bread to places that don’t have it. It’s like not having wine. The fuck?


I’ve been to plenty of fine dining restaurants that don’t offer bread. The newer, more modern ones seems to run with this idea. For instance The Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare. Which by the way is stellar. Not sure if I’m defending it - because I love that country French mini-baguette they used to have on their tray of breads.

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Interesting observation. One thing that struck me while dining at Michelin Three-Stars like Guy Savoy and Joel Robuchon was the lavish variety and excellence of their bread carts. My most recent experience there is now almost three years old so apparently this feature of fine dining may be passé. I celebrated a birthday dinner at Melisse in February 2020 and did notice the relative lack of bread. I think that’s an unfortunate development.

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Bread is part of the meal, like wine and water.

When the experience is not a meal but food-based performance art, I guess that’s not a valid complaint.

chef Eric Vildgaard from Jordnaer (Copenhagen) is doing a collaboration dinner at Melisse Sun July 23 & Mon July 24.