Ahh Mélisse, named after a lemon-scented herb from the Mediterranean. The restaurant is the brainchild of Chef/Owner Josiah Citrin, who opened Mélisse with wife Diane in July of 1999.
The restaurant quickly became, and has remained, one of the top eateries in Southern California. Previously, Citrin was chef and owner of JiRaffe, which he opened in 1996 with friend and fellow surfer Raphael Lunetta (the two are currently collaborating on Lemon Moon, a breakfast and lunch place). Before that, his résumé included working with two giants of the LA dining scene: Wolfgang Puck of Spago fame, and Joachim Splichal of the Patina Group.
At Mélisse, Citrin emphasizes the techniques of traditional French cuisine, com-mixed with contemporary American flair. A fixture at local farmers’ markets, he extols the virtues of local ingredients, which are presented relatively simply at Mélisse, no avant garde or molecular techniques here.