This is part 3 of the MICHELIN x STARWARD G*Astronomy Series. Today we're at Mélisse in Santa Monica, California. Mélisse first earned its stars in 2008 and has now regained two MICHELIN stars in a new space with its sister restaurant Citrin. Hear chef Josiah Citrin talk about the passion and the pursuit of excellence at Mélisse and how Starward whisky cocktails pair with dishes like chicken and rice with beer vinegar and preserved truffle.
One of These Nights
Paired with duck a la rouennaise
.5 bigallet China China
.5 st germain
3 dash lemon bitters
Grapefruit peel garnish
Fill a mixing glass with ice. Place the Starward whisky, Bigallet China-China, St. Germain, and lemon bitters into the glass. Stir until cold. Add a large cube of ice to a second glass. Strain the cocktail into the glass and top with a grapefruit peel.
"Duck a la rouennaise, which is an old classic dish where you roast the whole duck, you take the duck off, and you put the carcass inside a duck press. Then pressure crushes the carcass and puts out all the juices, and we make the sauce out of that, adding a little bit of whisky to it. That comes with a beautiful caramelized endive and some sausage we make from the legs of the duck, and a quince aioli."
"This is a chicken wing with this beautiful beer glaze, and it's stuffed with truffle mousse and ham, and it's just such a wonderful surprise when you get a chicken wing and you eat it and say, "Woah, this is the best damn chicken wing I've ever had."
Sebastian Ramirez making a Starward whisky cocktail at Mélisse.
Beast of Bourbon
2oz starward whiskey
.75 walnut liquor
.75 cinnamon Demerara
1oz lemon juice
3 dash of peychoad bitters
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Place the Starward whisky, walnut liquor, cinnamon demerara, lemon juice, and bitters into the shaker. Shake until cold. Pour into a rocks glass.
What our Inspectors say: Chef Josiah Citrin's iconic dining room is back up and running—even thriving—as it continues to bring old-world charm to this on-trend neighborhood. His expertise lies in delivering a certain fine-dining experience that never goes out of style. It's a lovely change of pace for anyone looking to slow down and be pampered by the highly capable staff.
The room is hidden within Citrin and kept out of site by a door. Once inside, the space reveals itself as a luxurious box with pale beige brick, dark wood, and bright artwork. A gentle hum fills the room, ensuring that the ambience is more celebratory than stuffy. Comfort is at the heart of the setting.
The open kitchen, with a duck press front and center, oozes with warmth and turns out a contemporary tasting rooted in French tradition. Begin with fried uni cromesquis with kombu honey and black truffle or king crab with yogurt served en chaudfroid. A sense of whimsy and decadence abound in the likes of a French onion dip-inspired custard with crème fraîche and caviar; as well as steamed black bass atop delicate cubes of eggplant with green tomato in a beurre noisette. A pitch-perfect peach tart rounds things off on a brilliantly high note.
All photos by Stan Lee
Presented in partnership with Starward