2012 has been tremendous so far (save for this freakin’ train wreck). It has been mostly foie gras-free, short rib-free, tuna tartare-free, celebrity free. There has been very little cheffy leg-humping, until now.

Just check out chef Giselle Wellman’s baby cuddling pose — chef? Or politician? Or chef becoming politician? She’s been making the Zagat talk circuit, and she seems a natural.

Fortunately, WeHo need not worry about changes at Petrossian. They don’t want to compete with Ivy down the street, and Wellman is grounded. She could be your summer camp counselor, or she can froth the emulsion accompanying your Jidori chicken. She has no problem burning through grams of caviar powder to create the caviar pasta, but let it be known the popular beets and duck confit salad arose from her frugality. There are soft boiled egg, there are egg Royales. Either, or, as long as you’re willing to come in and try the revamped menu. Befitting the nabe, and the namesake, sometimes culinary obscenity manifests in $75 caviar burgers. Perhaps avoid that and go straight for the simply adorned Cal-French with a dab of Asian? Is it possible a San Diegan can make Angelenos believe in Cal-French cuisine again? Sure, because there’s a brick chicken on the menu.

Gone are the poorly interpreted French dishes (perhaps meant to attract Asian restaurant groupies? We’ll never know); gone are the bacon wrapped anything, short rib done a million ways. Here is an American chef who’s fallen in love with pasta, doing what she’s clearly capable of, and executing it with just enough flair. She’ll have you know she loves Red Med (and admires Kahn), but there’ll be no micro forests on a plate at Petrossian. What is current available though, is a subtle, but definitive, protest against the upcoming California foie ban. After all, Petroissian has sold its own foie torchon and pate for ages.

From the current menu, one can achieve foie overload. The classic truffle foie torchon is still on the menu. It is still so ridiculous rich that it satisfies a four-top. It’s blocks of foie gras sandwiching black truffles. This is a dish that allows the French to mock all other cuisines on the globe. A plate of beautifully plated foie gras ravioli (Listed under “First”, and from the fall DineLA menu) is still available, and arrives with grapes, walnuts, mushrooms, Noble XO Vinegar. It’s classically pretty, cooked a bit al dente, and begs to be eaten with heavy champagne pours. To finish off strong, go for the foie gras ice cream with raspberry jam, brioche, honey, sea salt. Think: foie gras/cream pâté, served well chilled. Again, this foie dish ideally feeds 4. [sidebar: in this instance, it was really consumed by one. Note this website's unhealthy obsession with ice cream].

In between the canard happiness, interject (and share!) other more prosaic proteins. Mary’s chicken at Papille’s was rather enjoyable, but it’s easy to appreciate Wellman’s fondness for curry. The Jidori chicken, with a modicum of Vadouvan which calmly nixed duck liver’s richness, carried nicely crisped skin. It was accompanied by a healthy selection from a farm which placated USDA daily vegetable guidelines. And that stripe bass? As splendid as mar’sel’s branzino. The full description reads: “Caviar Powder, Citrus Bread Crumbs, Parsley, Capers, Spinach, Lemon Foam”.

Petrossian seemingly dropped off the radar end of 2010. In reality, Wellman and her kitchen chicas have been garnering fans since February 2011. She says, in her kind, bubbly voice, that Petrossian is now a place the wives can get their caviar on, but the husbands can still down a non-frilly medium rare burger. The dining room, with its fancy larder, is still lovely as ever, and frames Los Angeles by juxtaposing Tavern Brentwood. Here, one will find a small slice of West Hollywood that is not invaded by tourists (or the President), by real (or unreal) housewives, and one can experience culinary acid trip far superior to anything offered by Panera Bread in sheep’s clothes.

Petrossian West Hollywood
321 N Robertson Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90048
Gisselle Wellman
Petrossian Boutique & Cafe on Urbanspoon

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