Taste This Great Comfort Food on Melrose

— by Caroline on Crack

G enjoying his steak

I went to the best restaurant last night: Taste on Melrose. On a whim, my brother, his bf Chris and I decided to be grown up for a change and meet up for dinner instead of drinks. We were going to do my old fave Luna Park but as my bro was craving steak and LP’s steak entree is $28, that was a no go.

So I searched around for area restaurants that were decently priced, but THAT seemed to be hard to come by in West Hollywood what with places like Lucques and Ago abound. And with hot boulevards Sunset, La Cienega and Santa Monica in the vicinity, chances of finding a place cheaper than $50 a person seemed unlikely.

But then I remembered Taste. I forget where I initially heard about it from, but LA.com described it as “charming,” “casual” and “quaint.” Sure enough, a gander at the restaurant’s Web site promised affordable dining and a cozy atmosphere. Grilled New York steak dinner? $20. Sold!

Couple on a dateMaking dinner reservations for three just the night before was no problem. And arriving on Saturday at 7:30, the restaurant was bustling but not packed so the hostess was still able to offer us the option of sitting outside or in. Realizing that inside the bungalow was too noisy due to restaurant chatter clattering off the hardwood floors, we opted to sit on the patio.

Lights lining the overhead beams and red votive candles on the tables made it an inviting setting. I kinda wished I wasn’t the third wheel to my brother and his boyfriend, else it would have made a very romantic date for them.

So after perusing the menu, they stuck to their decision to order the steak, while I changed my mind from that to the pan-fried Alaskan salmon filet with mushroom risotto, shitake mushrooms and mini portobello ($18.25). For wine I ordered the Clos LaChance Zin ($8) while they split a bottle of Kris Del Venezie Pinot Grigio ($32). For starters we chose the ahi tuna tartare ($10.50) which was so tasty with the tuna spread on the grilled crostini, as well as the grilled artichoke ($6). Very fine choices all around.

Chris enjoying HIS steakOnce our dinner arrived, all you could hear from our table was the sounds of forks hitting the plates and lots of Mmmms. My salmon dinner…ah, my salmon dinner. What can I say? It was perfect.

The mushroom risotto was so creamy and just complemented the pan-fried filet o’ fish. Unfortunately I was so full from all the appetizers and bread beforehand that I couldn’t finish my meal. I hate when that happens. But Chris and G had no trouble polishing off their steak and pomme frites.

To round out the evening, we decided to split the chocolate parfait devil’s food cake ($8) which consisted of caramel, caramelized bananas, rum chantilly cream, chocolate ice cream, macadamia nuts, brown butter cookies and chocolate parfait cake. And what was awesome about this dessert was that it wasn’t overly sweet or rich. It didn’t leave us feeling sick. Instead it left us with a pleasant feeling of contentment and even, dare I say, well-being.

Fortunately for you lucky people, Taste has expanded its menu to now include weekend brunch and lunch. OH! and I forgot to add that while looking at the dessert menu, I noticed that they even have a list of all their different types of hot cocoa ($4) which include flavors like mint chocolate, coffee chocolate, dark chocolate (!) and amaretto chocolate. On chilly days like these, hot cocoa sounds divine.

8454 Melrose Avenue
West Hollywood, California 90069
(323) 852-6888
Cross Street: La Cienega Boulevard