Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Petrossian - dineLA Caviar, Crab, Caramel Pot de Creme Trifecta

Every dish I've ever had at Petrossian, I've fallen in love with, and end up dreaming of until the next time I am fortunate enough to re-encounter its perfection.

Perhaps I am a little biased, as Petrossian happens to offer EVERY ingredient that I love most in the world:  caviar (and more caviar), foie gras, truffle (both fungal and chocolate varieties), all kinds of shellfish, and lots of cream.

"Foodie mentor" introduced me to the place a while ago, during another dineLA restaurant week - and I had a Foie Gras with Haricots Verts Salad soaked in truffle vinaigrette that I will never forget, Handcut Steak Tartare layered with caviar, and the creamiest panna cotta for dessert.  It was one of the most amazing meals I had ever had in LA, and definitely the best dineLA deal by far that year.

Petrossian again offered perhaps the most exciting menu on the dineLA list this year, and we were excited to see Steak Tartare as an appetizer - the amazing texture and tastes still lingered in our minds and palates from the last time we had this dish. I couldn't wait to break my rule of maximizing my limited resources on new experiences - I absolutely had to have this dish again.

Chips and Dip - caviar dip
and sweet & purple potato chips ($16)
Throwing all thoughts of calories out the window (one reason I love eating with Foodie Mentor so much!!!) we choose to 'prep' for our meal with an additional 'pre-starter' off the regular menu, thanks to our server's irresistible description:  listed simply as "Chips and Dip - caviar dip and sweet & purple potato chips" on the menu, she explained that the dip was made of creme fraiche and mascarpone cheese, topped with clusters of caviar and strewn with finely diced red onion.  It was every bit as amazing as it sounded, with the rich but not overly dense creaminess of the ever so slightly sweet dip tempered by the subtly salty orbs of caviar, which is then counterbalanced by the crunch and blasts of intense flavor from the red onion.  The dip was amazing with the sweet and purple potato chips - which tasted fresh and were at the perfect thickness / crispiness.  If only the chips could have been bigger in size to provide more real estate on which to pile on the dip.  Otherwise, perfection.

Caviartini ($18)
Of course, I also had to try the latest and much talked about Petrossian invention, the Caviar-tini ($18).  Basically an ice-cold martini served with a skewer of olives stuffed with caviar, and a pickled pearl onion.  Utter decadence in concept, and the caviar did add an interesting burst of saltiness to the briny olives. Though it was good, I confess I am not the most sophisticated drinker (normally a fan of cocktails with more pronounced layers of flavor - e.g. Burning Mandarin at Katsuya!) - so this martini was not a personal favorite, especially not with the $18 price tag which was nearly half of the cost of the meal!

Steak Tartare with Caviar, Quail Egg and Herb Salad
Onto our 'real' first course from the dineLA menu then.  Aside from the steak tartare, the other starters looked good but not life altering - and if you're going to Petrossian, of course go for the dish with caviar or seafood, which is what they are famous for - not the salads (unless there is some amazing ingredient involved - though the Frisee aux Lardons tempted me with bacon and Fourme D'Ambert cheese).

The Steak Tartare this year was cut down to first course portion size, and served with a spread of caviar, topped by a fried quail egg.  It wasn't what I remembered from last time, as the pieces were not as perfectly sized - everything seemed scaled down - but the texture of the steak was still incredibly smooth and richly infused with flavor.  We both went for the same starter - and there wasn't a single piece of meat or solitary egg left on either of our plates.

Caviar Pizza with Creme Fraiche, Chopped Egg,
Red Onion, Capers and Chives
For the main course, Foodie Mentor choose the Caviar Pizza with Creme Fraiche, Chopped Egg, Red Onion, Capers and Chives.  That was the first to catch my eye as well, but since we already had the pre-starter with a very similar combination of ingredients, and I knew we could have bites off each other's plate in order to sample more dishes, I considered the remaining choices.  

Usually a big fan of Pork Belly, that main course looked tempting to me as well - however, keeping in mind Petrossian's signature offering is seafood - and taking a slight risk that the Crab Risotto with Sweet Corn, Mascarpone and Trout Roe might be too sweet, I went with the latter (I do love crab, ikura and mascarpone!).  

Crab Risotto with Sweet Corn, Mascarpone and Trout Roe

The Crab Risotto turned out to be AMAZING - very creamy, at perfect density, temperature, and evenly infused with flavor.  The sweet corn added a slight crunch to break up the creaminess, and the trout roe added bubbles of liquid saltiness that popped pleasantly over the mix and on the palate.

Caramel Pot de Creme

Pistachio Creme Brulee
I did not want this fantastic meal to end, but alas, we arrived at our last course.  Though I knew I would love the Panna Cotta again, I went for the Caramel Pot de Creme, as this is not usually available on the regular menu.  And I couldn't resist another course involving mascarpone, which seemed to be the theme of the evening for me!  I loved this dessert, as it was the perfect amount of sweetness, kept skillfully light and served at the ideal portion size, in a cute jam jar with a dollop of mascarpone.  The only tiny glitch was there was just a pinch too much sea salt over the top, so that I had one very salty bite.  Otherwise, fantastic.

Foodie Mentor went with the Pistachio Creme Brulee and liked the new take on the classic French dessert, and that the sugar crust was fairly even.

Beyond all the raving about the food, I do want to note that Petrossian is also great for three reasons:
  • Chic but unpretentious decor - upscale yet laid back cafe ambience in a small, cozy and unintimidating dining room (or choose to eat at either the communal table in the attached store, or outdoor patio seating facing Robertson).
  • No stress parking - though in a central location, close to the Beverly Center, spots are amazingly available for free at meters on the street after 6pm.  I found one easily within minutes and just a half block away from the restaurant!

  • Nice after dinner entertainment - checking out all the delicious looking bottles and jars of caviar, tins of foie, packets of smoked salmon and rows of chocolate truffles in the attached store after dinner!
Petrossian is definitely one of my favorite places in LA - especially for the awesome deal during dineLA Restaurant Weeks!  You have three more days left in this one - GO, maintenant, vite!

On a 7 point scale:
Flavor - 6.5 bites
Presentation - 6 bites
Originality - 6 bites
Ambience - 5 stars
Service - 6 stars
Overall experience - 6 bites
Price - $$ (2 bite marks)
Probability of return visit - 100%


321 N Robertson Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90048
Ph: 310.271.6300

OpenTable: Look for reservations

Petrossian Boutique & Cafe on Urbanspoon   Petrossian Boutique and Cafe in Los Angeles on Fooddigger

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