With the exception of Ludo Lefebvre and his beloved wandering bites, I can’t recall in recent memory a restaurant that was as unanimously adored by bloggers as Petrossian is. We’re a fickle and peculiar breed, so when all parties can agree on the excellence of a single restaurant, hallelujah!
After months of admiring the fantastic meals that Chef Benjamin Bailly was crafting for my blogging brethren [See: Kung Food Panda, My Last Bite, Two Hungry Pandas, The Food Ledger, Living to Eat, KevinEats, etc.], I finally made plans to sit down for a proper introduction. Joining me for dinner were three exceptional eaters—The Astronomer, D takes a B, and Petrossian veteran, KFP.
We arrived at eightish on a Saturday night. After making our way through the “boutique” section of the restaurant where the finest smoked fish, foie gras, pâté, chocolates, and specialty teas and coffee can be procured, The Astronomer and I joined our two friends in the dining room. Following a short chat with Chef Bailly, we agreed to give him full reign over our supper.
Our unofficial tasting menu started off with chilled glasses of hibiscus champagne, which brought about a celebratory mood to the evening. The bubbly tickled my nose and matched my sweater.
Blinis dolloped with créme fraiche and topped with domestic caviar, trout roe, and salmon roe were the first to arrive. I felt like a zillionaire czarina sipping champagne and noshing on fish eggs. All that was missing was an ushanka on my head.
Next, a haute interpretation of humble chips and dip comprised of caviar-laced crème fraiche paired with Peruvian purple potato and sweet potato chips. Atop the dip was a sprinkling of hard boiled eggs and chives. The saltiness and crunchiness of the chips meshed well with the cool and creamy dip, successfully elevating tailgating fare to new heights.
Of all the dishes I’d been drooling over these past few months, I was most looking forward to tasting Chef Bailly’s latest creation, “Caviar Surprise.” Underneath the initial layer of caviar were additional layers of crème fraiche and King crab suspended in apple cider gelee. We slathered the caviar and crab mixture onto warm blinis and toasted brioche using dainty mother-of-pearl spoons. The Caviar Surprise was a pleasing mix of salty and fruity. The crab and caviar were plentiful and luxurious.
Everyone at the table got a kick out of the silver toast holder that featured a stern looking duck. By the way, the toasted brioche came courtesy of BreadBar.
The Astronomer’s favorite dish of the evening was the hanger steak tartare wrapped in rice paper and adorned with oodles of caviar. We were instructed to pick up the crostini base and to bite it all at once. The tender cubes of beef were so positively luscious that I heard a sigh escape my boy’s mouth.
The shrimp papillote were easy to like. I ate the phyllo-wrapped prawns with my fingers, making sure to scrape every last bit of passion fruit and chili ginger sauce from the plate. The Asian flavors present in this dish offered a pleasant contrast to the sea of caviar.
The foie gras creme brulee with green apple whipped cream had a lot of potential but ultimately wasn’t flavored strongly enough for me. The distinct taste of foie gras was muddled in the mix of mousse and caramelized sugar. The green apple whipped cream would have rocked atop a legit lobe of fatty liver.
Even though I was quickly running out of gastro real estate at this point in the evening, the courses kept on coming! The panko-crusted “Crispy Egg,” which was soft boiled to perfection, was accompanied by a cippolini onion puree, sturgeon roe, and smoked salmon. The dish’s combination of flavors and textures was unique and really worked well.
My dining companions loved the expertly executed skate wing with brown butter foam, caper berries, sherry vinegar gelee, and crushed potatoes. I watched from the sidelines due to my aforementioned lack of space.
Chef Bailly sent out a special order of black truffle “Mac n’ Cheese” for Diana. Each little orecchiette was smothered in Parmesan and perfumed with black truffles and smoky bacon.
For dessert, a trio of smooth-as-can-be puddings. My favorites were the chocolate hazelnut parfait with crunchy pralines and vanilla mascarpone, and the vanilla panna cotta with diced mango and pop rocks. The pistachio creme brulee wasn’t shabby, just not nutty enough for this nutty girl.
In addition to the fine fare, what I liked most about dining at Petrossian was the complete lack of pretense. With a menu dominated by luxury items, I had imagined the atmosphere to be slightly snooty or off-putting in some way. However, that wasn’t the case at all. The Chef was amiable to no end, as was the waitress that served our table. If you’re interested in indulging in a similar tasting menu, get in touch with Chef Bailly via phone or Twitter (@ChefBenBailly). He is as nice as he is talented.
Petrossian Paris Boutique & Café
321 North Robertson Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048