Scintillating Citrin…

A fabulous new team has surfaced in Santa Monica.

The 2 Michelin Star Melisse has been reincarnated along with a lovely sibling.

Melisse and Citrin are harmoniously harnessed together.

Citrin focuses on modern California cuisine, offering delectable food in a welcoming environment.

Citrin is the a la carte accompaniment to Melisse’s fixed priced ($295) 14-course extravaganza in the 14-seat culinary cathedral.

Fear not, the Happy Hour at Citrin is the best deal in town.

The comfortable bar area is the setting for an amazing array of smaller portion offerings that represent the dining room menu.

From 5:30 to 6:30 nightly you can experience much of the dining menu for a fraction of the price and even run into familiar foodies in the know.

We sampled a lovely Merlot ($10) as well as a superb cocktail, Ready For Love, made with Tequila, Kings ginger, Shishito shrub, Yuzu and Regan’s orange ($10).

We started with the Wild Japanese Yellowtail with radish, grapefruit and cilantro.

The fish was fresh and delicious and the delicate, beautiful array of garnishes were delightfully spicy. The Happy Hour price was $8 as opposed to $26 on the dinner menu.

This was followed by a divine Lobster Bolognese with capellini pasta and a sumptuous brown butter  truffle froth ($14/34 on menu).

We completed the bar sampling with a sweet Chestnut Agnolotti with date, orange, cognac and sage. It was wonderful, but I am not usually drawn to sweet pastas ($8/28 on dinner menu).

Also offered during the remarkable Happy Hour  is a hamburger, Wagu sirloin, oysters, meatballs and a beet salad.

You can sample the amazing food and make a delicious, reasonably priced  meal out of it.

Soon after, we were seated in the attractive dining room.

Justin gave us a complete menu rundown.

We started with the Charred Tutti Frutti Puntarelle with charred chicory, gorgonzola, pears and walnut candy. The slightly warm salad was a mix of great flavors ($16).

We splurged with Josiah Citrin’s trademark pasta, a Black Truffle Pasta which was magnificent and   highlighted by a generous amount of black truffle shavings ($85).

The Tagliatelle pasta was delicate and perfectly prepared with a touch of cream and the luscious truffles ($85).

Our entree was the Vermillion Rock Cod “En Ecailles” perfectly sautéed with charred cauliflower, Meyer Lemon, fingerling potatoes and a unique Pichuberry ($38).

FYI, Pichuberries are native to the rich volcanic soil of the Andes Mountains. They are partly sweet and partly tart, a cross between a blueberry and a tomato.

Dessert was a must as Citrin offered a Grand Marnier Soufflé with a side of vanilla ice cream and an apple compote. The soufflé was light as a feather and tasted like heaven ($18)).

The Grand Marnier soufflé brought back luscious memories of our Parisian indulgence at the lovely Le Soufflé restaurant that has been on the right bank since 1961. They would present the soufflé with a bottle of Grand Marnier. If you chose to pour the entire bottle into the soufflé then so be it!

Citrin is a culinary treat and master chef Josiah Citrin roams his domain and approaches the diners enhancing the already embraceable atmosphere.

Citrin is an indulgence you cannot ignore and the Happy Hour is a must.

Citrin 1104 Wilshire Boulevard Santa Monica, California. Open for dinner Tuesday-Sunday 5:30-10pm..Happy Hour 5:30-6:30pm. Valet parking ($8.50) and metered street parking. Reservations on

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