Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Did I hear right? Petrossian was offering a Foie Gras Tasting Menu?? Later I learned that it was for Dine LA and I thought... alright, I pray this will be good! Gourmet Pigs let me know about the special menu and we set up plans while she was away about going when she comes back. So here is the low down of the night. I have been here 3x already for their Dine LA menu and I think all 3x they had different Executive Chefs. Last time they had Chef Ben Bailly and he was very nice. Their latest Executive Chef is Chef Giselle Wellman. Here is the cold hard truth of the experience that transpired the other night...
I arrive and the place seems pretty busy and there are tons of staff members standing about the restaurant yet I see the guy at the counter who is the general manager helping a couple buy products which is understandable. Here comes the part I really don't get... 3 women are in front of me just standing there as well. I decide to ask them if they are waiting to be seated. I glance across the room where staff members were looking back at us and doing nothing... Then the women say that they are waiting to be seated and apparently this guy is the ONLY one in charge of the list. So then we ALL waited. I am standing there thinking ummm okay.... why only have one person seating when they are obviously helping customers at the counter on the "boutique" side... The gm did come by and apologize for the wait, but I just kept waiting and more people started to squeeze in for seating. I am thinking to myself... OH GOODNESS! It's getting crowded! So after they seated the people in front of me right next to the counter they stood **could've seated them earlier** then luckily Gourmet Pigs must have some pull because we got a nicer table. The server was very friendly but... more to come.
So to start off we placed our order and there were a few menu items that I was debating but in the end I decided to start with the Foie Gras Ravioli. My biggest qualm is that they claimed to be a "Foie Gras" dinner and there is no seared foie gras to be found anywhere??!?!?? I will be honest, I was devastated! I have been sick since the Bahamas and to drive up straight after work, it better be one of the best dinners to be worth the drive and time. Albeit, meeting up with my pal after so long is a big part but the food needs to be up to par as there are so many delightful places in LA to eat. Now back to the food at hand. The raviolis were al dente and flavorful. I wished there was just a bit more sauce on top for moistness. The grape, walnuts, and mushroom were a nice complement with earthy and sweet tones. It's probably the best "foie gras" dish of the night.
At this point we finished our appetizers and just sat there waiting for the main course. I am not sure why it took forever for the next course to come. I debated on which main dish to choose. The steak had the offering of white truffle oil and a foie gras, leeks, mushroom duxelles that I was tempted to order. Then the kicker was what the foie gras was. It turns out to be a mousse on top of the pastry. That made me change my mind to the Squid Ink Fettuccini. The kicker was that it has wild Californian sea urchin and salmon roe in a curry sauce. At first I was thrown off by the curry sauce but I couldn't resist the fact that I can get some sea urchin. I don't quite know if it was the right choice because I ended up eating mostly pasta/carbs for the night, which is normally against my belief. They did give me a taste of the steak which was not bad but not anything out of the ordinary. The foie gras and pastry was actually pretty tasty. I did enjoy the sea urchin. The natural sweetness complemented the savory flavor of the pasta. If you like pastas and tons of carbs then this is the dish for you, but if you are a meat eater like me it might leave you wanting for more at the end. Still, to be fair the pasta was unique and I did enjoy the sweet uni. At first bite I was debating on the whole vibe of the dish. The more I ate, the more I felt the flavors sink in.
If it is not evident by now, I am a devout lover of foie gras. I have had it as a martini, seared, terrine, raw, soup, butter, and as crème brûlée right here before. It is finally time I had it in ice cream form! Of course my friend started to warn me by text of the night to come and was eagerly awaiting my verdict on the ice cream. I was very tempted in getting the Mille Feuille because I often think about the wonderful dessert from Pierre Hermé. Thank goodness I did not make that choice because that was NOT a Mille Feuille. Yes, I know they have their own take on the dessert but that was almost blasphemous. First off, mille means a thousand layers and not 3 lame toasted bread with fruit cut up on it. By this comparison, I must say it made the Foie Gras Ice Cream so much better. To be honest, I couldn't stop laughing while I ate this. I actually detest foie gras terrine. This really was just a thick, cold, and creamy foie gras terrine. It was served with raspberry jam, honey, and sea salt on top of a brioche. I agree with my friend that it could use something bitter or salty to cut the richness down. Between this and the Mille Feuille, I'd gladly take the super rich and heavy ice cream over the poor excuse of passing off bread as a delicate pastry. To give them credit, the ice cream did taste exactly foie gras ice cream so at least you know that there is real foie gras inside.
All in all I think the place is not bad but nothing special that I would necessarily recommend or drive up for again. I felt a little tricked and I was not the only one in my party who needed to nibble on other food when they got home! The server was not bad and they were friendly but that does not excuse the inefficient way they function. I guess they are not use to being busy? In the past, I have never seen them this packed for Dine LA but this year they are probably the only restaurant offering a decent menu. When you choose restaurants to try out for Dine LA, you have to be very careful or you will end up spending more for the pre-fix than when you order separately! Dine carefully, but most importantly just enjoy the meal and the company.
Petrossian Boutique & Cafe
321 N Robertson Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90048