Friday, April 22, 2011

A Taste of The Good Life... Taste on Melrose

Ambience and attitude are two often found ingredients in some of the most profound moments in life. Be it a tragic event, a romantic first encounter or a memorable dinner where new friends are made, Ambience and Attitude can definitely make or break the moment. 
This rings especially true when those moments are taking place on the “World Famous” Melrose Avenue. Where, whether you hope for it or not, the clientele your establishment entertains could insight a paparazzi frenzy in the blink of eye, having millions of out of towners flocking to your doors literally overnight.  
What a business owner must hope for at that moment, is that they had the foresight to hire or partner up with a Chef who has a fondness for fresh well articulated flavors and combining ingredients other menus might be afraid to approach with such passion. 
Luckily for us, Taste on Melrose is one of those places where you can always guarantee you will have a few moments of joy brought into your life whether it’s from the food, the atmosphere or both.

Walking into the restaurant we were greeted by a warm hostess who quickly got us to our table that gave a perfect view of the Melrose, which is great for its constant change in scenery. Taste’s owners are brilliant in that they have the patio area far enough back so that no matter how much traffic the street sees in a day it will never drown out the guest’s conversation.

There is nothing more pleasant than being in a restaurant that is a packed house, yet perfectly spaced out so that no one feels cramped by diners at the table next to them. Taste is beautiful in its décor using amazing dark colored woods mixed with clean white linens and wall spaces adorned with fresh and vibrant paintings.

Deciding on having the White Truffle Oil & Mushroom Mac & Cheese and Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups as our appetizers, we received our drinks and got our evening underway.
The food arrived quickly after the drinks and we wasted no time tearing into it.  Starting with the Mac & Cheese (which positively is worth all the hype I had heard about it,) I realized after taking one bite of its baked crispy cheese crust / outer layer, I was working my way through the creamiest most flavorful shells and cheese sauce I have had in ages. I urge everyone within reasonable distance to have some and understand why people all over the internet have been going nuts about this stuff.

The Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups, which are a mix of minced chicken, diced shallots, perfectly cooked crispy rice, peanuts and cilantro served on a romaine lettuce leaf with a lemongrass vinaigrette is something that I will without a doubt be attempting to mimic in my own kitchen.
The crispy lettuce, not that soggy wet stuff your mama has in the bottom drawer of her fridge, that you load up with savory chicken topped with a vinaigrette that seems as if they made it especially for you and you only, is enough to call a meal on its own.
Add a few drinks to that and you have the perfect makings for a light meal and start to a great evening no matter where you head next.

Of course we couldn’t call it quits after that so we ordered the Pan Roasted Barramundi and the Grilled Hanger Steak to see what they were working with in the entree department and boy are we glad we did.

The Barramundi fish (also known as the Asian / Australian seabass) for those that don’t know is great because of the fish’s because ratio of fat to flakey juicy flesh that allows for the fish to be cooked numerous ways and still retain its moist goodness. Served atop a Red Quinoa mixture with Roasted Fennel, Red Peppers, Grape Tomato and a Basil Salsa and Yellow Pepper Cream Sauce is by far and wide the best Fish dish I have eaten in Southern California this year. And please understand I eat fish almost daily so that is no small feat. Check out the picture and tell me you don’t want to bite your screen right now?

The Grilled Hanger Steak was no joke either, don’t be fooled by its humble title, it
packs a punch in every which way you would hope a steak would. This perfectly seasoned all natural hanger steak grilled medium just how we like it, served alongside the creamiest crispiest Potato Croquettes loaded with Applewood Smoked Bacon, Grilled Asparagus and Red Wine Dijon Mustard Sauce could easily go for double what you pay here for it (I wouldn’t think twice about paying more simply because it was pulled off delightfully.)
This wasn’t some backyard piece of Carne Asada you grabbed at the market and left soaking in juice for a few hours, no this meat has been treated like royalty and grilled amazingly so that you cant help but devour the entire plate, hoping to have room left for dessert (and you know we always do.)

Which brings me to the final but always the most important course, Dessert.
A bad dessert could blow everything you and the restaurant just worked so hard to achieve, a full stomach, a great ratio of food to alcohol consumption and a nice pair of pants if you aren’t careful.

Deciding upon having the Chocolate Brioche Bread Pudding and a dessert they only have for the month of April (April is Grilled Cheese Month) which was a Dessert Grilled Cheese Sandwich consisting of Sweet Vanilla Bean Goat Cheese, Caramelized Pears, Candied Hazelnuts, Brioche Bread and a Nutella Dipping sauce put us up over the top for the evening.
The Dessert Grilled Cheese Sandwich, is something that kids dream about their entire lives, only in this case, Taste has pulled it off with the utmost of delicious ease. I truly do wish they work this into the menu and this stays around much longer than just the month of April.

The Chocolate Brioche Bread Pudding with its Crème Anglaise and Vanilla Bean Gelato is the kind of dessert you don’t share no matter how much you love someone, that is unless its your first date then you better share, or well, you know what that will get you and that is not much fun.

The warm bread melts the ice cream to make a warm gooey mixture of heaven in each bite, not to entirely sweet and perfectly capped off with a glass of cold milk. They have the option to try it with Grand Marnier Cuvee de Centenaire, which is truly delicious as they even tell you, but that didn’t mix well with my libations for the evening so I kept it simple and plain.

Taste on Melrose is definitely not some dull, boring steak house with undercooked, overpriced chops and bad music that’s for sure.  Everything from the valet, hostess, wait staff and most importantly the food was perfectly on point this evening and most likely will be when you decide to go there too (which I advise you to do soon.)
Cheers to Taste on Melrose & their entire staff.
Taste on Melrose
8454 Melrose Ave.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(323) 852 6888


  1. the pics make me wanna bite the screen. yummmmmmyyy sounds like a really cool place to eat at in WeHo.Jane A.

  2. this is why i like the site and west hollywood. it craps all over santa monica and their supposedly fresh food :)

    Freshest Bet