Friday, August 21, 2009

Even a Parisienne will love Le Petit Restaurant

Friday night dinner plans with the family was looking uncertain. My sister's mother in-law, MTR, the guest of honor at my parent's home, was on her way back from San Francisco and as of 6pm, she still seemed pretty far away. To top it off, it was during Friday work traffic. When she walked through the door at 7.30pm, we quickly bolted for the restaurant soon after to save our 8pm reservations.

Le Petit Restaurant in Sherman Oaks is a lovely French bistro. I find that the food is consistently good, and reasonably priced. Corkage is $10 per bottle.

We started with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot that MTR brought over from France. It was in a champagne sleeve, one that I have never seen before.

We ordered an appetizer and entree each.

Bread and butter. The butter was whipped, and came with a trio of hummus, babaganosh and chile.

Escargot. This was excellent. The snails were cooked well and not rubbery. The dish was so flavorful and the mixture of parsley, lots of garlic and butter was delicious on a piece of bread.

Frog leg provencale. This was one of my favorite dishes of the night. The frog legs were sauteed in caper butter lemon. I haven't had frog legs in years and I have only had them Asian-style, sauteed with garlic and black bean sauce. They were delicious and tender. My favorite part was the cartilage; it was chewy and a little bit softer than chicken cartilage.

Shrimp picante. Four shrimp pieces simmering in thick, spicy sauce.

Mussels with white wine and shallot. A rather large plate; it did not seem like an appetizer portion for $9.95. The sauce was flavorful, rich and a little creamy.

For dinner, we opened a bottle of syrah from Harris Ranch that MTR purchased on her road trip back from SF. Harris Ranch is located in Coalinga, CA, and is know for its high quality beef.

Crispy duck. Two large duck legs with wild rice, haricot vert, carrots and cooked in orange grand marnier. It was delicious. The skin was crisp, the portion was huge and the rice was bathing in butter. This is what I call a great duck, unlike the disappointing duck that I had at FIG restaurant a few days ago. Tonight's duck, SATISFACTION!

My dad ordered his usual fare: Lamb shank. The shank was a huge, savage piece. The meat was so soft and rich, and cooked in a stew of mixed vegetables. The gravy was flavorful and went well with the light and airy couscous.

Fresh 1 1/2 lb lobster with a side of clarified butter and french fries. The lobster was fresh and simple. My sister's mother-in-law did not eat her lobster with the butter. Maybe that's how the French women are able to stay so slim amidst all the rich food.

Last up, dessert. Since the starter and entree portion were huge we decided to share one dessert between the four of us. There were many good dessert choices; bread pudding, sorbets and molten chocolate cake. But when there's a creme brulee on the menu, my dad does not waiver. The creme brulee had a layer of raspberry underneath the custard. Everyone at the table was impressed, especially the mother-in-law who lives in a city that is abundant with first-rate desserts.

Le Petit Restaurant is an authentic french bistro. The food was delicious, the service was attentive, corkage is reasonable and even my sister's mother-in-law from Paris who has exquisite taste in food, loved the meal.

Hits: frogs leg, escargot, duck
Misses: nothing- everything was excellent and well priced
Rate: ****

Le Petit Restaurant
13360 Ventura Blvd.,
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
(818) 501-7999

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