It's a rare thing to find a good restaurant in Los Angeles where three courses (with choices on all three courses) comes in at $22 per person. Taste is one of those rare finds during this week's Dine LA program, which encourages people to try new (or revisit old favorite) restaurants for special prix fixe menus.
The term "prix fixe" in France usually translates to mean a discounted 2 or 3 course set menu of the house specialties which represent a good introduction to the chef's skills. Happily that translation works at Taste.
Choices for the first course include a grilled artichoke with white balsamic tarter sauce, or mac and cheese with white truffle oil and mushrooms, or a chicken tortilla soup; main course offerings include a Kobe beef burger with Gorgonzola cheese, onion jam, arugula, and tomato on a sesame bun with their famous fries, or a blackened salmon salad with baby greens, fresh herbs, slow roasted tomato, capers, and goat cheese served with a white balsamic vinaigrette; and dessert choices include a tres leches flan, flourless chocolate cake, or a chocolate bread pudding. I chose the artichoke, salmon salad and bread pudding. I was impressed by how perfectly cooked the fish was, but less impressed with the undercooked, but tasty artichoke; the chocolate bread pudding was a nice finishing touch, with a nice balance of melted chocolate, vanilla creme anglais, and brioche.
The ambiance is minimal but warm, and the casual feel of the small space provides a relaxing break after shopping at the chic antique dealers surrounding the restaurant. Service was like the decor, relaxed and minimal; the waiter and busboy were available, but you had to search for them if you needed anything during your meal.
Taste is almost directly across the street from Comme Ca, a slightly more refined French bistro which I wrote about in an earlier post, so depending on your mood, you have your choice of casual or chic on Melrose; either way your taste buds will be happy.